Florida has now gained the unenviable distinction of being the number one hotspot in the US in terms of auto insurance fraud. The past six months have seen a surge in fraudulent claims and staged accidents in the state according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. These incidents have been a cause of concern for some time now for Floridian authorities and insurance companies. Unfortunately, it is the innocent drivers who ultimately are affected and who are made to suffer in the end.
The spate of dubious claims has led to a spike in insurance premiums in the state, as insurers try to cope with the losses they had to incur as a result of the payouts they had to give “supposed” victims. In fact, state officials reported that many insurance companies in Florida have now applied for premium increase requests in their attempt to recover their expenses from reimbursements. In addition, insurers have also tightened application requirements for auto insurance, making it harder for people to get coverage.
Staged accidents also pose serious threats to the lives and safety of law-abiding drivers who may fall victims to syndicates who pick out innocent and unknowing accomplices in random. Unscrupulous individuals deliberately ram their cars with other vehicles whose occupants they don’t know so they could file for spurious medical claims. These crime rings also employ “runners” who would talk to car crash victims and steer them into getting examined and treated by medical provider cohorts. These medical providers in turn come up with exaggerated medical reports and include unnecessary treatments to maximize the amount of money they would get from insurers. In many cases, the personal injury protection of the victims gets maxed out.
Currently Tampa Bay is the second worst city in the US for dubious auto insurance claims. Other Floridian cities such as Orlando and Miami are not far behind and are in fact included in the Top Ten List of the country’s law enforcement agencies.
Experts blame the weak economic condition as to why many people in the state are now turning to fraudulent activities to raise money. As a result, insurance companies have now become more vigilant and have instituted strong measures to combat fraud. Some insurers are now working closely with police authorities to track, identify and put to justice individuals and medical providers who are involved in these criminal activities.
Many believe that there’s much to be done before this problem gets stamped out. One, there needs to be stronger laws and stiffer penalties against offenders. In addition, more funds and resources should be allotted to law enforcement agencies to better equip them to fight individuals and syndicates involved in auto insurance fraud.