The Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority (IFPA) announced this week that the reporting of insurance fraud in Pennsylvania increased to an all-time record-high in 2013.
Reporting jumped by 9 percent to 3,582 fraud referrals in 2013 over the previous year, IFPA said. Of the 3,582 fraud referrals received in 2013 by the 11 state and local law enforcement agencies funded by the IFPA (IFPA grantees), 2,495 referrals came from insurers, 208 from other state agencies and 879 from consumers.
“Our public outreach via television and Internet advertising has educated Pennsylvanians so that they know insurance fraud when they see it,” said Ralph Burnham, executive director of the IFPA.
“In 2013, one of every four fraud referrals came to our law enforcement grantees directly from insurance consumers. Since 2008, we’ve seen consumers’ fraud knowledge increase by 35 percent and their willingness to report fraud increased by 28 percent.”
The IFPA reports that nearly one-half of fraud referrals and two-thirds of arrests in 2013 came from auto insurance. However, in 2013, the IFPA reported that the year’s fraud referral increases in the areas of homeowners insurance (12 percent), healthcare insurance (10 percent) and commercial liability insurance (126 percent) were greater than that of motor vehicle insurance (9 percent).
Also during 2013, IFPA grantees reported a total of 406 arrests, with prosecutions seeing 296 defendants convicted, including 61 imprisoned or confined, and with an additional 161 defendants being diverted to rehabilitation. Probation was imposed upon 357 defendants, and court-ordered restitution totaled $3,544,482, with defendants also being ordered to pay $730,113 in fines and penalties.
“The cooperation and communication of the insurance industry with Pennsylvania law enforcement has never been better,” added Burnham. “Insurers’ fraud reporting has doubled in Pennsylvania over the past several years, and in 2013 criminal convictions were up by 24 percent over those of 2012.”
IFPA was created by an Act of the Pennsylvania General Assembly in 1995. IFPA is established as an independent state agency whose purpose is to combat insurance fraud throughout the state.
Source: The Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority