The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has created a new page on its website called the “NICB COVID-19 Resource Center.” The page provides the latest information on emerging fraud schemes due to an influx of insurance fraud cases tied to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud (CAIF) recently sent out a statement regarding a surge of fake coronavirus health coverage schemes. It warned that robocalls, text messages, and email phishing attacks could fake insurance deals to consumers, asking them to pay for health or travel insurance premiums without delivering coverage.
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It’s no secret there’s a constant battle to find and prosecute people trying to get away with insurance fraud, which costs billions of dollars each year and drives up premiums for consumers.
As a result, there has been a concerted effort by several state legislatures and governing bodies to help thwart fraudsters and their crimes, according to a news release issued by auto insurance provider GEICO.
Nancy Pierce, GEICO regional vice president and vice chair of the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) Board of Governors, said, “GEICO puts a lot of resources into investigating and stopping staged accidents, exaggerated injuries, inflated medical bills and other acts of insurance fraud that inflate costs for consumers.”
The company detects, deters and defeats insurance fraud and theft through its Special Investigation Unit.
“That said, there’s a lot that must happen in the fight against fraud at the legislative level, so it’s encouraging to see positive momentum in that direction this year,” she explained.
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud said that six states in particular have proposed vital pieces of legislation in 2014 that would have a significant impact on deterring insurance fraud:
- Colorado: Increasing fraud penalties to a higher-level felony is the subject of proposed legislation.
- Maryland: Giving prosecutors greater flexibility in trial venues for fraud suspects is being supported by the state insurance administration.
- Michigan: The creation of a state auto-fraud agency is proposed to strengthen the state’s no-fault law, identify questionable clinics and improve the fight against fraud.
- Minnesota: A variety of new anti-fraud bills are under review by an anti-fraud task force, including greater sharing of fraud-related information between insurers and law enforcement. The imposition of civil fines in addition to criminal charges is also being considered.
- New Jersey: Three new bills that will restrict outsider access to crash reports, expand fraud-fighters information exchange, and make it a crime for drivers to lie about where a vehicle is garaged are all under review.
- New York: A multi-faceted anti-fraud agenda targets dishonest clinics, staged-crash networks, and fraudulent medical-equipment providers.
“While these proposals wouldn’t eliminate fraud entirely in these states, they would be significant steps in the right direction,” said Ryan West, vice president of GEICO’s claims home office. “We’re pleased that state bodies across the country are putting the fight against insurance fraud on the agenda and trying to implement changes that would result in lower premiums for consumers.”
Additional information and resources on theft and fraud awareness are available through the NICB.
According to an Insurance Information Institute (III) report and an National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) study, questionable claims arising out of duplication billing rose 37% from 2010 to 2011. Also increasing over the same period were questionable claims arising out of excessive treatment which increased 24% over the same period. Also noted in the III report:
The III reported in December 2011 that widespread criminal activity and abuse of the state’s no-fault auto insurance system would result in an additional $658 million “fraud tax” on auto insurance costs in 2011, a 7 percent increase from 2010. On a per-vehicle basis, the $658 million works out to $58 for every vehicle in Florida. Since 2009 no-fault fraud has cost the state’s drivers and insurers nearly $1.3 billion.
The full report is available here.