Across the country, one of the biggest drivers of auto insurance premium increases that most people don’t consider is fraud. This kind of crime remains rampant nationwide despite efforts to crack down on it by individual states, and one such case recently came to a positive end in California. Nonetheless, the impact of fraud on individuals’ insurance premiums is typically substantial, and it might be wise for insurance agents to do a little bit more to educate consumers about the effect this kind of crime can have.
A California man was recently sentenced to a year in jail and five years of probation for his individual efforts to defraud an auto insurer, after he pled no contest to two felony counts of insurance fraud back in November, according to a report from the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office. In all, Ugend Prasad submitted six fraudulent reports between August 2009 and April 2012, claiming his car had been either stolen or vandalized.
What was the impact?
While this may not sound like a relatively big operation, the damage to the insurers was nonetheless significant, the report said. Three different companies ended up paying Prasad a total of nearly $32,500 during that period to cover those non-existent costs, before state and county authorities – including the Sacramento County Auto Theft Task Force and the California Department of Insurance’s Urban Auto Fraud Unity – caught on to the scheme.
The problem for many drivers is that this kind of case is actually relatively minor in comparison to the auto insurance fraud rings that operate all over the country, which can bilk insurers out of hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. The more people understand how insurance fraud will impact their personal bottom lines, the better off they’re likely to be in terms of understanding their policies. That can often go a long way toward helping people not only feel better about their coverage, but also about their relationship with their insurance agent specifically. And it shouldn’t be discounted that polls show strong service is often a bigger driver of customer satisfaction than low prices, indicating just how important it may be for agents to reach out regularly. That also doesn’t mean they should abandon efforts to help consumers find lower prices every once in a while, but it may help them to prioritize their situations.