Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Fighters Say Media Campaign Helping

An advertising and public relations campaign by the Pennsylvania agency that coordinates insurance fraud prevention activities is increasing the public’s understanding of various kinds of fraud, according to a new study by the group.

The Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority (IFPA) said a statewide study of 1,000 adults shows that its two-year-old, anti-fraud campaign is helping to increase understanding of insurance fraud’s impact and consequences.

Part of the research process for the educational campaign involved presenting interviewees with typical scenarios for potential fraud and asking them their opinions of whether the behavior is wrong, whether jail time should be imposed for the crime and how likely it is that a person doing it would be caught.

“The initial research we conducted for this campaign told us that most Pennsylvania insurance consumers did not know exactly what insurance fraud was,” said Ralph Burnham, executive director of the IFPA. “We wanted more consumers to understand that lying to their insurance company is a felony for which they can be investigated, charged, and punished. The results of our latest research show that our campaign’s focus on consumer education is the right approach.”

A November survey by the IFPA found that that the number of residents who strongly agree that insurance fraud is classified with the most serious types of crime increased by 33 percent. An increasing numbers of adults also correctly identified that insurance fraud is a felony.

“We know that for an average consumer, who does not have the criminal mindset, insurance fraud is not a top-of-mind issue. But over time, we want to gradually increase the understanding of and solidify attitudes firmly against insurance fraud,” Burnham said.

The IFPA’s media campaign includes 30-second television spots depicting real-life scenarios of people who are contemplating or involved in committing insurance fraud. The spots close by pointing out that what these people are doing is insurance fraud and that Pennsylvania is cracking down on those who commit it. Spots warn the viewer, “Know the risks. Know the penalties.”