You may not realize it, but insurance companies are entirely based around the idea of expenses forms. After all, when you really think about it, they’re a sort of bookie that takes the bets you make that something terrible is going to happen in your future. The actuarial tables they compile list the odds of these terrible things happening to particular people, and so they set their premiums at a point that nets them money even when they have to pay out.
Of course, wherever there’s money there are people trying to get some the easy way, and that’s where expenses forms become so important to an insurance company. They naturally need to know how much damage they have to pay for so they can avoid paying a penny more than they have to, and they need their clients to be as completely honest on their expenses forms as possible. If people try to defraud them, the insurance companies will either have to raise their rates or else lose money and go out of business.
This in turn leads to insurance investigators. Forget what you’ve heard about police detectives and private eyes, because insurance companies are the ones hiring the best investigators in the world. They’re willing to hunt under every rock and watch a client’s every move to make sure they don’t have to pay a cent more than they really have to. And while your company probably isn’t so thorough when it comes to expenses forms filed by employees for business trips and other company-related expenses, it can pay to avoid taking them at face value.
In general, there should always be a sense of trust fostered between employees and employers, but you must always temper this trust with a little analysis to make sure things stay honest. This means looking out for obvious mistakes or fibs, such as a motel room that supposedly costs a few hundred dollars per night or a list of restaurants that doesn’t line up with the businesses on the statement for the business expense card. In many cases this is an honest mistake, and so you should make sure to treat it like one at first, but at the same time it’s a mistake you need to correct.
So while an insurance company has to treat expense claims as if they mean the difference between life and death (because to them, they do), for other businesses a bad claim isn’t as big a problem. However, a few small claims can really start to add up over time, and so it helps to be vigilant.