Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Cabinet Rings Insurance Fraud Alarm

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Florida Cabinet Rings Insurance Fraud Alarm

Article excerpt

Much of what lawmakers do is symbolic. They voice the citizens'

concerns without necessarily passing major legislation. Much of

this talk is a lot of hot air.

But when the Florida Cabinet designated last week as Insurance

Fraud Prevention Week, they were acting to raise public

awareness on an issue that ought to capture the imagination of

consumers.

"Consumers believe that it is a victimless crime," said Leslie

Chapman-Henderson, a spokeswoman for Allstate and the Florida

Insurance Council's anti-fraud effort. "Every consumer of

insurance is the victim of fraud."

Every fraudulent and inflated claim that an insurance company

pays out, ultimately comes out of the consumer's pocket as his

or her insurance premiums go up, she said.

The Washington-based Coalition Against Insurance Fraud

estimated that last year there were $6.4 billion dollars of

false claims in Florida.

For a Florida family that purchases the different lines of

insurance -- homeowner's, business, automobile, etc. -- the

Insurance Council estimates the cost of paying for fraudulent

claims comes to $1,431 per year.

Fraud involving automobile insurance is the most common,

according to the insurance industry.

The types of fraud include:

Ditching. About 30 percent of all stolen car reports in Florida

are fraudulent. The car owner has either abandoned or destroyed

the car, and filed claims to bring car payments to an end or

collect a benefit.

Past posting. An uninsured driver buys insurance after an

accident or car theft in order to file the claim and collect a

benefit.

Auto repairs. Mechanics fixing a damaged car charge insurance

companies for new parts while installing used parts. …

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