Three state agencies join to create insurance fraud task force

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – The SC Lawyer Normal’s Workplace, the Division of Insurance coverage, and SLED have joined forces to create a activity pressure that goals to crack down on insurance coverage fraud circumstances in South Carolina.

Based on the Nationwide Insurance coverage Crime Bureau (NICB), SC ranks seventeenth within the nation for complaints of insurance coverage fraud.

“Everyone’s paying for fraud. It’s not a victimless crime,” Division of Insurance coverage Director Ray Farmer stated.

Cracking down on insurance coverage fraud has advantages for SC residents as 10% of the price of insurance coverage premiums is immediately associated to insurance coverage fraud. Assistant Lawyer Normal LaRone Washington says that 10% is the same as upwards of $1000 per 12 months.

“If insurance coverage fraud in South Carolina didn’t exist, it’s the equal of if somebody at Christmas gave you a test for $1,000, and that may be what each family saves,” Washington stated.

Most claims are associated to auto accidents, making up 59% of complete claims in SC in 2020. SC ranks eighth within the nation for staged auto accidents, and Washington says insurance coverage fraud is an enormous deal in South Carolina.

“It is a enormous drawback these tendencies are going up. Of us are discovering that it’s rewarding enterprise to do,” Washington stated. “That is huge enterprise, so we have to commit actual assets to combating it and the legislature actually took to it.”

Greenville, Charleston, and Richland counties reported essentially the most insurance coverage fraud circumstances in 2020, with Richland main the state. Richland county reported 289 circumstances, with 54% of these being automobile-related.

Washington says there are a number of methods criminals stage auto accidents.

“Criminals are loads smarter than individuals give them credit score for,” Washington stated. “I believe they sort of perceive, ‘That is what we’re beginning to get away with,’ and so they sort of see the tendencies, similar to the remainder of us do, they are saying, ‘Okay, my cousin, my good friend did it and nothing occurred to them.”

Some could pack automobiles with individuals and collide purposely to gather extra insurance coverage cash, whereas some hit rideshare automobiles to money in on company insurance coverage insurance policies. Criminals are additionally recognized to brake test unsuspecting drivers and blame the accident on the harmless individual.

“They slam on the brakes, they see you coming, and swiftly, all people is in an accident and people staged accidents draw down helpful assets that must be used for different issues,” Farmer stated.

To keep away from falling sufferer to insurance coverage fraud, Farmer says to pay attention to your environment whereas driving and make sure to not tailgate different automobiles.

The mix of the three state companies ought to show helpful in cracking down on insurance coverage fraud throughout the state.

“The experience of the Division of Insurance coverage can be utilized by the SLED brokers, after which SLED brokers will develop the case, and so they’ll give any indictments which might be applicable to be signed by the Lawyer Normal,” Farmer stated. “So, that is all coming collectively to fight insurance coverage fraud.”

Washington says about 35 different states have related partnerships. He provides that NC collects million in restitution from insurance coverage fraud circumstances per 12 months, and so they have 10 instances the full-time detectives SC has to analyze circumstances. Washington stated the partnership goals to reflect this system NC has.

The duty pressure is funded with about $2 million from the Normal Meeting that may assist present extra assets to analyze and prosecute circumstances.

Presently, the duty pressure is streamlining know-how for intaking circumstances, investigating, and prosecuting them. The duty pressure must be absolutely functioning by September 1, 2021.

To report a suspicious insurance coverage agent, company, or declare, name the Insurance coverage Fraud Hotline at 1-888-95-FRAUD.

Copyright 2021 WIS. All rights reserved.

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