Across the country, millions of drivers are likely always on the lookout for ways to cut the cost of their auto insurance, and may be perturbed when premiums rise even if their driving history hasn’t changed. But while many factors can contribute to this kind of issue, one that many might not have even considered is the prevalence of auto insurance fraud in their areas, which can add hundreds of dollars per year to the average driver’s costs. Agents who can explain why this is the case, and what consumers may be able to do to combat such fraud if they can, might be able to improve their working relationships with clients going forward.
Late last month, a group of 11 people who were allegedly involved in a major auto insurance fraud scheme that ran out of a body shop were hit with major charges in Pennsylvania, according to a report from Philadelphia television station WPVI. Frank Wilson, the owner of Transformers Collision Specialists and the alleged ring leader, would take in vehicles at one garage, damage them more than they had already been dinged up, and then have them inspected at a different location.
“He would sometimes take a forklift and ram it into the side of a car,” Delaware County District Attorney Jack Whelan told the station.
How widespread was it?
The fraud ring took four years to investigate, and in all, 10 more co-conspirators were charged, the report said. It’s believed that they ripped off insurance companies for as much as $85,000. Altogether, Wilson is charged with eight counts of insurance fraud, six counts of conspiracy of insurance fraud, five counts of theft by deception, four counts of conspiracy theft by deception, and several other crimes. Wilson is currently free on bail and allowed to continue running the business.
The fact of the matter is that when it comes to auto insurance, consumers might not always have the best idea of what does and doesn’t factor into how their rates are set. For this reason, if agents can do a little bit more to help people understand their policies, they might be able to improve how people feel about that coverage overall. That, in turn, can lead to better relationships between agents and their clients, as well as improve customer satisfaction ratings, and potentially even retention rates.