Kevin Lynch likes the thrill of the hunt.
Early in his career, it was the hunt of finding out what restaurant in South Beach Britney Spears would be dining in or what Vegas nightclub Paris Hilton would be partying at.
Now, his stakeout skills are applied to investigating potentially fraudulent insurance claims.
Lynch is the founder and owner of Top Shelf Investigations, a private investigation agency that specializes in conducting surveillance for insurance claims.
He focuses on bodily injury, slip and fall cases, auto liability and worker’s compensation, but occasionally works on domestic cases like alleged infidelity. He is based in Delray Beach, but covers Key West to Vero Beach.
His job: to see if someone who alleges an injury from a claim is faking it or not.
He is hired by attorneys or claims adjusters to investigate potentially fraudulent claims.
“We benefit the community by exposing and denying expensive and fraudulent claim settlements,” he said. “These frivolous claims are what cause insurance premiums to go up. The more money an insurance company has to pay out, the more premiums cost. Top Shelf Investigations combats those rising costs by exposing fraudulent claims.”
He first was exposed to what private investigators do when he worked for the National Enquirer in the early 2000s.
He was hired to work out of their Los Angeles office on Valentine’s Day of 2000. That summer he was sent to South Florida to cover for a reporter who was out sick.
He said he loved South Florida and asked to stay. He covered the Enron scandal and dozens of celebrity stories. He ended up in Last Vegas covering the nightclub scene.
His time spent with paparazzi and freelance photographers taught him how to hide in plain sight and figure out a person’s daily routine. The Enquirer had relationships with private investigators as well.
When the publication began layoffs, a private investigator he worked with suggested he look into that as a career option.
He became licensed as a private investigator and worked with a company that helped adopted people reconnect with their biological parents.
He estimates he helped reunite 1,000 families during his time at that job. Then, he was ready to make his next career move.
Lynch began working for a company that investigated alleged insurance fraud claims. After he got a feel for it, he got his own agency license and went out on his own.
He spends his days living in his car. He has hidden cameras on glasses and pens. A typical case spans about three days. What he used to call a stake out is now referred to as surveillance. He will spend hours watching, waiting and then getting the video he needs to send to an attorney or insurance adjuster.
Often times, he said the cases he is assigned don’t make it to trial. They are usually settled once clients see the video he has captured.
He said seeing their faces when they realize they were caught on tape is always a look of shock.