The following is a report by the NY Daily News: Auto insurance fraud is beginning to soar in New York – and so are drivers’ rates.
The Daily News has learned suspected fraud cases have jumped 33% since 2006.
And this has hurt drivers in their wallets: Auto insurance rate hikes averaged 6.3% last year, the state says.
Companies inundated the state Insurance Department with 13,433 complaints of suspected no-fault auto-insurance fraud last year – up from the 10,117 incidents flagged just three years earlier.
The scams are pervasive in and around the city, particularly in the Bronx and Brooklyn, Insurance Department statistics and industry experts reveal.
“There’s a lot of bad guys out there who are gaming the system and are figuring out ways to circumvent the system,” said state Deputy Insurance Superintendent Steven Nachman.
In many cases, experts say, accidents are staged and corrupt medical clinics submit fraudulent claims for treatment that was either not performed or medically needed.
As fraud cases have risen, so have the average payouts per auto insurance injury claim.
They’ve soared 55% since 2004 and are now more than double the national average.
Last year’s cost per claim averaged $8,690 – up from $5,615 in late 2004 and more than twice the current $4,152 U.S. average.
Robert Hartwig, president of the industry-backed Insurance Information Institute, said the recent spike in scams is reminiscent of the early 2000s, when no-fault fraud became a nearly $1 billion problem.
Hartwig estimates the latest round of scams cost insurers and drivers $229 million last year.
State Senate Insurance Committee Chairman Neil Breslin (D-Albany) is vowing to push a reform measure this year to crack down on the abuse.
(Source: NY Daily News)