The number of hail loss claims filed with insurers increased by 61 percent, from 256,000 in 2006 to over 413,000 in 2009.
At the same time, the number of claims referred for suspected fraud increased by 136 percent, from 301 in 2006 to 711 in 2009, according to a National Insurance Crime Bureau report that examines both hail loss claims and hail loss questionable claims (QCs) for the period Jan. 1, 2006 through March 31, 2010.
During this period, Texas was the top state in both hail loss claims and hail loss QCs with 298,798 claims and 521 QCs. The top 10 states represented 75 percent of the total number of hail losses and 82 percent of the QCs.
Illinois had the highest ratio of hail loss QCs to claims, with 881 hail loss QCs for every 1,000 hail loss claims. Nearly nine of every 1,000 claims filed for hail loss were deemed suspicious enough to forward to NICB for further investigation.
“These statistics back up what our agents have been experiencing in their field investigations,” said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and CEO. “There are a lot of unscrupulous fly-by-night roofers and repairmen who are what we call ‘storm chasers.’ They follow the storms and deliberately try to rip off unsuspecting home owners and their insurers by making unnecessary repairs or deliberately inflicting intentional damage to a roof or siding to try to get insurance money.”
The National Insurance Crime Bureau, headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., is supported by nearly 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insurers.