Insurance companies are scum of the earth (too be polite)...
First of all, I'd like to state that insurance companies are not the "scum of the earth". Ignorant people are the scum of the earth. (to be polite) The type of people who don't know how to use the word "too" in the proper context (don't try to say it's a type-o, you did it in two consecutive posts) are probably the same type of people who launch attacks without having ANY knowledge to back them up.....get that inta ya.
These "scum of the earth" people that you refer to are all around you. They are your friends, family and fellow herp-keepers (including myself). Insurance is one of the largest industries in the country and employs hundreds of thousands of people. There are towns in rural areas that are almost 25% employed by the local insurance broker.
If you think that you're getting ripped off, guess what? Insurance companies pay out more that they take in from premiums. In fact, Canadian insurance companies pay out over $1.01 for every dollar they take in. (You can check this with the Insurance Bureau of Canada) The only way they make money is by investing that large pool of money (In case you didn't notice, the stock markets weren't great over the last couple years). On top of that, insurance companies lose TONS of money on auto policies. There is not one profitable auto line in Canada. Insurace companies receive most of their premiums from commercial policies.
BTW they are also covered under your theft policy without notification (big explaination here but... my entire collection is ensured up to $20000.00 CAD which is about 1000x more than it is worth... it's a standard policy for $200.15 CAD per annum)
Let's put this into perspective. Say you own a house that's worth $150, 000. In that house there is $25,000 in contents. If that house burns down, your insurance company is stuck with a bill for $175,000, plus the cost of the emergency services, a hotel to put you up in, any independent fire investigations, etc... At $200 a year, it would take you 875 years to pay for those damages. Everyone hates the insurance company until they need them.
If you actually knew where your premium dollars went, you would realize that it's not the insurance companies who are ripping you off. It's the people all around you. It's the doctor or lawyer that bills the insurance company $500+ an hour. Or the paralegal who is dragging thier case through the court system as slowly as possible in an attempt to bypass laws that prevent cash payouts before a certain time period expires (these laws deter fraud). It's the physiotherapist or chiropracter who insists you need more treatment when you feel fine. And finally, it's the insured. The person who claims they had a 32" TV instead of a 25", or a $2000 bike instead of the $200 CCM they bought at Canadian Tire. It is estimated that 10-15% of claims contain some degree of fraud (from exagerating what you really had to completely fraudulant claims). There of organized crime rings that include lawyers, paralegals, tow truck drivers, doctors, physio and mechanics. They stage accidents to recieve the benefits, which in turn get paid to others in the ring. (if you do some research, you'll see they are busted regularily) On top of that, there are the people who sue for HUGH amounts of money for soft tissue and other minor injuries.
Don't think your insurance company is stupid (or the government for that matter). They do not like paying out claims which they feel are winable (meaning they don't payout). They have investigators as do the government. Do you think they don't have an idea what goes on?
I assure you insurance companies are not out to get you. There is no such thing as a "winable" claim. There are "questionable" claims and "defenceable" claims. I also assure you that insurance companies are not stupid at all. They know exactly what is going on and if you try to screw them, they'll screw you even harder.
Defenceable claims usually involve one of two situations. First situation: where there is a disagreement in what the payout should be. This usually occurs in injury claims. People expect $15,000 for being off work for two weeks with whiplash. If you didn't notice, this isn't the USA, land of the lawsuit. Insurance is meant to compensate, not reward.
Second: where there are grounds for denial. Either:
a) you breached your contact (the law applies to every contract you sign, not just the ones you feel it should apply to)
b) There is enough evidence to support the position that your claim is fraudulent. (in essence, a breach of contract)
Questionable claims are where the investigator comes into play. If there is a "red flag" raised, the claim will be referred to investigations. For example: You claim you had a $5,000 diamond ring that was stolen and you can't find the reciept. (There's the first red flag) You have never had it appraised. (There's the second red flag, as most people with valuable jewellery will have an appraisal for insurance purposes) And to top it all off, you can't produce a single photo of yourself wearing the ring. (#3) Does that not seem questionable to you? Would you hand over $5000, or would you investigate more.