PIANY Commends Authorities on Fraud Results, Urges Vigilance

January 27, 2004

The Professional Insurance Agents of New York State Inc. expressed the organization’s satisfaction at the fraud fighting efforts of both the NYSID (see previous article) and the Automobile Insurance Fraud Unit (AIFU) within the Attorney General’s Office. Together they account for the arrest of 154 New York individuals charged with insurance fraud and related offenses last year.

In a press conference Monday afternoon, Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and NYSID Superintendent Gregory V. Serio noted that their combined efforts resulted in the arrest of 25 people upstate in the last three months; the remainder of the 154 total arrests were made downstate.

“Fraud is a statewide issue-it has no geographic boundaries,” Serio commented. Spitzer also noted that insurance fraud is no longer limited to downstate and that the “dedication and effort shown to New York City” now also needs to be focused on upstate.

The arrests announced by Spitzer and Serio are a good start, but more needs to be done to fight auto insurance fraud, said PIANY President T. J. Derella, president of Kingstar Co. Inc., in Kingston, N.Y. “These are steps in the right direction, but the race is a marathon and not a sprint. We have just made a small dent in what is a pervasive problem.”

The PIANY is seeking legislative changes that would give prosecutors and insurers better tools to fight fraud and is supporting the Insurance Department’s effort to prevent adverse legislation that would undo the regulatory progress the department has made.

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