Karl Newman, President
Sandi Henke, Communications Director
NW Insurance Council
Phone: (206) 624-3330
Fax: (206) 624-1975
Follow at Twitter.com/nwinsuranceinfo
Ripped off: Insurance fraud costs NW households
$200-$300 a year
SEATTLE - You're being robbed and you may not
even know it. The crime is insurance fraud, and it costs every
Northwest household between $200 and $300 each year in higher
Overall fraud costs
A recent study conducted by the National Insurance Crime Bureau
shows property/casualty fraud costs Americans nearly $30 billion
each year. The Insurance Research Council says that fraud and
inflating the value of claims added between $4.3 and $5.8 billion
in auto injury settlements in 2002. The IRC also reports that
nearly one-third of all bodily injury claims for auto accidents
contained some kind of fraud.
"Some people say they don't care if insurance
companies get ripped off," said Karl Newman, president of the
NW Insurance Council. "What they're missing is that it's their
own money. We all pay for insurance fraud."
Insurance fraud perpetrators steal from Americans
in more ways than one. Not only does fraud cause higher insurance
rates, it also leads to higher taxes and inflates prices for consumer
goods. Keeping that money in your own pocket starts with understanding
who commits insurance fraud, and why they do it.
Insurance fraud schemes
Some insurance fraud crimes are elaborately planned schemes such
as staged vehicle accidents complete with fake injuries, or claiming
phony injuries to collect disability, workers' compensation or
personal injury settlements. Others are simply average citizens
pretending a car was stolen or that a stereo system cost more
than it did.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau offers
these facts you should know:
- Insurance criminals are not easily identifiable. They typically
don't carry guns or wear masks, but they can be just as damaging
as other criminals.
- Insurance fraud includes organized criminal enterprises, unscrupulous
doctors and lawyers, dishonest body shop operators and even
your neighbor or co-worker.
- Regardless of who they are, insurance fraud criminals are
motivated by money and you can help stop them.
"The key thing to remember when we talk about
insurance fraud is that we're talking about your money," Newman
said. "I don't think anyone wants to pay a higher insurance bill
every month so that others can file false claims and then take
trips to the Bahamas or live the high life on payouts they don't
$5000 Award Fund
You can help fight insurance fraud in the Northwest by reporting
it. Each year, the NW Insurance Council offers citizens cash rewards
of up to $5,000 for information that leads to the arrest and conviction
of people who commit insurance fraud. If you know someone who
has committed insurance fraud, simply call the National Insurance
Crime Bureau (NICB) Hotline at (800) 835-6422. You may choose
to remain anonymous and still be eligible for a reward.
For more information about insurance fraud
or to request a free brochure, Insurance Fraud: You Pay the
Price, call (800) 664-4942, or visit http://www.nwinsurance.org/Insurance_Fraud.pdf.
NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, public-education organization
funded by member insurance companies serving Washington, Oregon