According to a report by Reuters News Agency, the Brazilian Insurance Federation can only verify about 70 percent of the claims received by local insurers concerning lost or stolen vehicles. A record 353,000 cars were reported stolen in the country in 1999, but many of the claims were apparently bogus, made only to cash in on auto insurance policies. Insurers laid the blame for the upsurge on Brazil’s worsening economic crisis, which has led to increasing unemployment and rising crime rates. Reuters quoted insurance industry spokesman Lucio Antonio Marques as saying, “Reporting a car theft is much easier than cutting off your finger and getting health compensation.”
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