States building momentum in 2014 in fight against insurance fraud
WASHINGTON, D.C, February 17, 2014 – Each day people commit brazen acts of insurance fraud that drive up premiums for consumers to the tune of billions of dollars each year. Fortunately, many legislatures and governing bodies around the country are taking additional steps this year to help thwart fraudsters and the crimes that drive up insurance costs, and GEICO applauds their efforts.
"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," said Nancy Pierce, GEICO regional vice president and vice chair of the National Insurance Crime Bureau's (NICB) Board of Governors. "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."
There are a few states in particular that have proposed notable bills in 2014 that would take significant measures to combat fraud, according to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud:
- Colorado: Proposed legislation would raise fraud penalties to a higher-level felony.
- Maryland: The state insurance administration has backed a bill that would give prosecutors more flexibility in where they try fraud suspects.
- Michigan: A proposed bill would create a state auto-fraud agency that would help improve the state's no-fault law, expose shady clinics and fight fraud more efficiently.
- Minnesota: A task force is examining ideas for new anti-fraud bills, including legislation that would improve information sharing among insurers, law enforcement and NICB, allow fraudsters to be levied civil fines while being charged criminally and increase fraud education efforts for residents.
- New Jersey: The state is expected to evaluate three bills that would restrict outsider access to crash reports to avoid fraudulent victim solicitation, expand the exchange information among insurers and NICB and make it a specific crime for drivers to lie about where they garage their vehicles in order to lower their premiums.
- New York: Among many items on the anti-fraud agenda are potential pieces of legislation that would cut down dishonest clinics, staged-crash gangs 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."
GEICO (Government Employees Insurance Company) is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies and is the second-largest private passenger auto insurance company in the United States. GEICO, which was founded in 1936, provides millions of auto insurance quotes to U.S. drivers annually. The company is pleased to serve more than 14 million private passenger customers and insures more than 23 million vehicles (auto & cycle).
Using GEICO's online service center, policyholders can purchase policies, make policy changes, report claims and print insurance ID cards. Policyholders can also connect to GEICO through the GEICO App, reach a representative over the phone or visit a GEICO local agent.
GEICO also provides insurance quotes on motorcycles, all-terrain vehicles (ATVs), boats, travel trailers and motorhomes (RVs). Coverage for life, homes and apartments is written by non-affiliated insurance companies and is secured through the GEICO Insurance Agency. Commercial auto insurance and personal umbrella protection are also available.
For more information, go to www.geico.com.