Last week, as the Arizona Diamondbacks faced the Pittsburgh Pirates at Bank One Ballpark, the Department of Insurance (DOI) staff members were joined by McGruff, the Crime Dog to spread the message that insurance fraud carries a nationwide price tag of $100 billion a year.
According to Terry Cooper, chief of the Insurance Department Fraud Unit, every family in Arizona pays roughly $300 a year more for various types of insurance to cover the increased cost of fraud. One of the ways to combat the fraud is community awareness. Cooper encouraged consumers to report any suspected fraud to the Fraud Unit.
Created in 1994 as part of the state Insurance Department, the Fraud Unit opened 668 criminal cases last year and obtained 89 convictions, including 20 that resulted in prison terms of from one to eight years, plus probation and restitution. A total of 116 cases are still pending, while others are under investigation.
Last year, the unit obtained restitution for insurance companies totaling more than $1.5 million, and recovered $120,000 in property that was reported stolen. With 10 investigators and four support staff, the unit collaborates with the Arizona Attorney General’s Office, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office and the Department of Public Safety.
Was this article valuable?
Here are more articles you may enjoy.