Faking your own death

Thumbnail image for caitlin.jpgA whole month since my first blog. By now of course I've gained enough expertise to rant and rave about all manner of things insurance-related, which is particularly impressive to my friends and relatives who have all recently discovered how glamorous the world of insurance actually is.

Not so, I'm afraid. Aside from that bit about being an expert somewhat lacking in accuracy, most people take pity on me when I tell them what I write about. And taking a look at the wider coverage of this industry, it's not hard to see why insurance is perceived as being at best a boring career choice, and at worst a profession full of thieves and con-men, only seeking to make money off the back of others' misfortunes.

Whether it's being tarred with the same huge, ugly brush as the banks and brokers involved in the PPI scandal, or ever-increasing motor premiums, the insurance sector suffers more than its share of bad press.

Crash for cash
So that's why it's so interesting when a story crops up which shows the other side of things - recent crash-for-cash stories should help to reduce accusations that motor premiums are being arbitrarily pushed up out of some insidious attempt to empty the pockets of the British population.

However, for me, nothing can beat a report of an opportunist who doesn't quite make it with a fake-your-own death scheme. These stories have it all. The excitement, mystery and outlandish attributes of a James Bond plot, dramatic searches across various exotic locations, and at the end of the day, a criminal getting their comeuppance, usually due to nothing more than sheer foolishness.

Few people are unaware of the 'canoe-man' story, and this week another, similar, tale emerged, which I think runs a very close second to that of the Darwins.

Alfredo Sanchez, believed to have faked his own death in order to benefit from a £1.25m life insurance policy, has apparently been discovered living in Australia with his children. Although his wife is already serving a two-year prison sentence in the UK, Mr Sanchez is reportedly refusing to admit to being the same man that the British authorities are seeking, and is insistent that his wife is merely visiting relatives in England.

The most incredible detail has to be that alarm bells were first raised when Mr Sanchez's HMV card was used after his 'death' in 2005, although it vies for that distinction with the fact that the culprit's own fingerprints are on the death certificate used to prove his untimely demise.

I have always loved a story like this, but even more so now. Insurance can be exciting, and the industry isn't always the bad guy. Plus, it leads to all sorts of conversations along the lines of: "How idiotic can you get?! If I was going to fake my own death, I'd do it right ..."

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