California Authorities Bust Auto Insurance Fraudsters

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  • Over the past several years, more consumers have become increasingly aware of the cost of their various types of insurance coverage, and the ways in which they have been rising for some time. Part of the reason for these increases, as far as auto insurance is concerned, is that fraud is largely on the rise. As a result, it might be important for insurance agents to make sure their clients understand why these costs are growing, and what that will mean for them going forward.

    California authorities recently completed a state-wide sweep against auto insurance fraudsters, charging nearly 200 people in 22 counties with more than 200 felony counts, according to a report from the state’s Department of Insurance. In the vast majority of cases in question, drivers who were either uninsured or under-insured bought additional auto coverage after getting into an accident and tried to file a fraudulent claim with their companies some time later. Altogether, their claims came to about $1 million in potential losses for some 40 insurers. Some of these cases were discovered to be fraud only after the insurer made the payments on them, but in some cases they were caught before checks could be sent out.

    “Unfortunately, this type of insurance crime is surprisingly common,” said California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones. “Insurance fraud is an expensive drain on the state’s economy that totals into the billions of dollars annually in California. This is not a victimless crime. The cost of these scams is passed along to consumers through higher rates and premiums – everyone pays for insurance fraud.”

    Other cases involved
    Meanwhile, two more suspects worked in the insurance industry themselves, the report said. Further, additional cases pertained to a fatality for a pedestrian, a vehicle which may have been used to transport drugs over the border from Mexico, and another that was involved in a staged accident.

    Insurance agents who can explain the ins and outs of coverage might want to keep in mind that this ability is often valued more highly by clients than simply being able to provide them with the occasional discount on their coverage. With this in mind, agents who can strike the right balance between these two ideas will likely be the ones that end up having the highest customer satisfaction and retention rates going forward.