The Colorado legislature has approved a bill adding a prosecutor and three new investigators to the Attorney General’s office to fight insurance fraud. Bill SB06-038, is awaiting the Governor’s signature, and is scheduled to become effective July 1, 2006.
The bill increases the amount of money the division of insurance can collect from insurers to investigate and prosecute allegations of insurance fraud. According to the bill, each insurance company regulated by the division must pay a nonrefundable annual fee of $425 on or before March 1 of every year. Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, the Attorney General will provide annual reports to the joint budget committee and post on its Web site a statistical report on the number of referrals, convictions, arrests, actions initiated and restitutions, fines, costs, and forfeitures obtained from the investigation and prosecution of insurance fraud.
“The bill is a recognition that the state wants to do more to investigate and prosecute insurance fraud,” said Howard Goldblatt, director of legislative affairs for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud in Washington, D.C. “The state is saying it needs additional resources to fight fraud, and there’s a recognition in the industry that it’s the right thing to do.”
Kelly Campbell, regional manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America’s office in Denver, agreed that the legislation is a positive step by the state to combat fraud. “We did support the legislation,” she said. “Insurance fraud is a concern of ours and we need to have adequate funding to investigate and prosecute those who commit fraud. Fraud investigation is critical and something we all pay for.”