12/03/2012 12:06 pm ET Updated Dec 03, 2012

George Johannesen, Declared Dead By Insurance Company, Is Alive And Confused

A 59-year-old man has been mistakenly declared dead by his auto insurance company, the Toronto Sun reports.

George Johannesen, who is alive and confused, received paperwork last week from Manitoba Public Insurance saying his driver’s license was no longer valid following his death in October, according to the report.

“I don’t understand how this could have happened,” Johannesen told the Canadian newspaper. “For me to be declared dead, someone would have to present a death certificate.”

Well, not quite. For organizations that keep member information online, false death notices are born in just a few clicks. At the U.S. Social Security Administration, for instance, around 14,000 -- or one in every 200 deaths -- are incorrectly entered into the agency’s Death Master File each year, according to a CNNMoney report. That’s 38 falsely reported deaths a day.

For the victims of such slip-ups, the effects can be costly. Wrenella Pierre sued JPMorgan Chase in 2011 after the bank ruined her credit and hurt her ability to refinance a mortgage by mistakenly telling several credit rating agencies that the Florida woman had died.

For his part, Johannesen said his latest pension checks have arrived as expected and the insurance company is aware of the faulty paperwork. Here’s to hoping Johannesen has better luck than Jerry Miller, a 10-year Army veteran whose military pension payments have been cut off four times because the U.S. Veterans Administration repeatedly mistakes him as being deceased.

“I can’t die but one time,” Miller told reporters earlier this year. “They have killed me four times.”



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