YOU ARE A VICTIM OF AUTO INSURANCE FRAUD
By: Gayle Bainbridge, CPCU, ARM, CRIS - Global Risk Insurance SolutionsFlorida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater estimates that premiums to cover auto insurance fraud cost a typical Florida family about $400 per year and the biggest driving force for premium increases is FRAUD. Fake accidents, fake injuries and stolen identities resulting in stolen vehicles fall into this category. Incredibly a Business News story reported that the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation stated that 80% of all auto accident injuries are in fact fraudulent.
The Latin Association of Insurance Agents partnered with Local and State elected Officials and held a Town Hall meeting in October at University of Miami. A representative from the National Insurance Crime Bureau reported the number of suspicious auto accidents that were staged or deliberately caused in Florida has increased dramatically in the last year. This statistic is on top of a 58% jump from 2008 to 2009. Our State Attorney, Katherine Fernandez-Rundle reported 12,000 cases of auto insurance fraud since 2010.
The cost of illegal claims is built into your premiums. Florida has the fourth-highest auto premiums in the nation. Just in January five people were arrested in Miami-Dade charged with faking car accidents, recruiting people to stage wrecks or filing false claims. Combined the scammers billed insurance companies for $170,000 worth of medical treatment that was never performed. More than 400 people have been charged with these crimes in the past two years. South Florida ranks second in the nation among metropolitan regions collecting insurance claims for phantom injuries in auto accidents that never occurred.
Insurance agents are reporting substantial increases in premium for their clients who have reported a PIP claim as well as their inability to secure coverage for clients who have had valid PIP claims. The State Highway Patrol recommends we remember to drive defensively and put down your phone. The criminals target distracted drivers when they stage accidents. If you are involved in an accident and suspect fraud, report it to the police and to your insurance carrier. Our legislators are crafting bills to help with this issue and we look forward to some relief. We at Global Risk will continue to lobby legislators to make the laws that will protect you and your property.
Global Risk Insurance Solutions
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