South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster has issued his annual insurance fraud report for 2008. The good news is that convictions for insurance fraud were at their highest in the 15 years since creating an Insurance Fraud Division. The bad news is that this likely means that the amount of fraud cases are going up. 135 convictions were secured last year up from 94 the year before. That is a 44 percent increase. South Carolina Insurance News Service Executive Director, Allison Love, says that everyone is working together to secure these convictions.
“Well it’s a combination,” says Love. “It’s great teamwork with the insurance industry and the insurance companies with their special investigators as well as the Insurance Fraud Division of the Attorney General’s Office.
‘But the trend has been going up and the number of fraud cases has been going up. Thankfully, the number of convictions is higher then it’s ever been in 15 years as well.”
Love says that insurance fraud is very serious and affects everyone’s premiums. According to Love, “Everyone pays more as a result of insurance fraud. We pay in our insurance premiums for auto insurance, home owner’s insurance, business insurance, health insurance, and the average family spends about a $1,000 extra per year in increased insurance premiums, taxes, and the cost of goods and services as a result of insurance fraud.”
The most common type of insurance fraud, says Love, is false claims on automobiles. “Last year, the greatest number of complaints for insurance fraud were due to automobile insurance fraud. In fact, there was a large ring of about 30 people in the Colleton County area that staged accidents so that certainly contributed to larger number in recent years on automobile insurance fraud.”
Over $3 million dollars in insurance fraud was reported in 2008. To report insurance fraud, contact the Attorney General’s office.