For Immediate Release: January 25, 2011
NCDOI Criminal Investigators Crack Down on Insurance Fraud
More Than $20 Million Returned to Insurance Fraud Victims in 2010
RALEIGH -- Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin today announced a record-breaking year for monetary restitution and recoveries for the Department of Insurance's Criminal Investigations Division. In 2010, the Criminal Investigations Division successfully closed more than 400 cases, resulting in more than $21.1 million in restitution and recoveries-more than double the dollar amount from the previous year.
"Department of Insurance criminal investigators are cracking down on the serious problem of insurance fraud," said Commissioner Goodwin. "Getting millions and millions of dollars back into the hands of victims of insurance fraud is a significant accomplishment."
An estimated 10 percent of all insurance claims involve some degree of fraud. When insurance companies pay for fraudulent claims, all consumers pay in the form of higher insurance premiums.
"As your Insurance Commissioner, I am working to keep insurance premiums as low as possible for North Carolinians; fighting fraud is an important step towards reaching that goal," Goodwin said.
The Department of Insurance offers the following tips to help protect yourself from being a victim of insurance fraud:
- Deal only with licensed agents and companies.
- If an agent becomes evasive or does not explain things to your satisfaction, seek other assistance or consider going elsewhere for your insurance needs.
- Do not sign any blank applications or claims forms.
- Never pay premiums in cash. Keep all your records and proof of payments.
- Remember that if a service or product sounds too good to be true, it probably is too good to be true.
The Department's Criminal Investigations Division employs 20 sworn law enforcement officers dedicated to investigating claims of insurance fraud involving agent embezzlement, staged automobile accidents, billing of medical services, property claims adjusting, property repairs and more.
Last year, these criminal investigators saw a total of 402 cases successfully closed with 88 criminal convictions and 126 arrests. A breakdown of insurance fraud activity by county can be found by clicking on this link.
Report suspected insurance fraud to the Criminal Investigations Division by phone at 888-680-7684 (toll free in N.C.) or 919-807-6840, by fax to 919-715-1156, or by email by clicking on this link. Tips can be reported anonymously.