Nearly one in four Americans says it’s OK to defraud insurers. Does this make insurance fraud an acceptable action? If you maintain an insurance policy (home, auto, life, or health), a portion of your annual premiums are paid to cover the costs of fraud committed by others. It is estimated that homeowners pay hundreds of dollars annually in premiums due to the fraud committed against insurance carriers nationwide. Fraud affects all of us and is receiving increased attention from law enforcement organizations throughout the country.
Fraudulent actions can come from many sources: filing a false insurance claim for a loss or damages that never occurred, filing a legitimate insurance loss but adding false damages that are not related or never occurred and reporting them as related to the claim, contractors talking homeowners into filing damages for storm losses that did not affect the property insured, dishonest repair shops using substandard or used parts but billing for new parts, and health providers billing for services that were never completed. Using reputable, local contractors, and repair centers helps you avoid becoming involuntarily involved in an attempt to defraud your insurance carrier. Keep detailed records of your possessions and belongings so that in the event they become missing, you will be able to easily and accurately provide details of your loss to the insurance carrier. If you are aware of someone that is committing insurance fraud, report the activity to your local law enforcement agency and/or the insurance carrier involved. The more details you can provide, the better.
Please see the “Suspect Fraud” tab in our Customer Center for additional information on insurance fraud and what can be done to prevent it.
Patrick Elliott, CPCU, AIC, AINS