(Mechanicsburg, PA)- The Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority (IFPA) today announced that the reporting of insurance fraud in Pennsylvania increased to an all-time record-high in 2013.
Reporting jumped by nine percent over the previous year, as the combined efforts of the insurance industry, state agencies and consumers pinned Pennsylvania’s insurance fraudsters to the mats.
Of the 3,582 fraud referrals received in 2013 by the 11 state and local law enforcement agencies funded by the IFPA (IFPA grantees), 2,495 referrals came from insurers, 208 from other state agencies and 879 from consumers.
“Our public outreach via television and Internet advertising has educated Pennsylvanians so that they know insurance fraud when they see it,” said Ralph Burnham, executive director of the IFPA. “In 2013, one of every four fraud referrals came to our law enforcement grantees directly from insurance consumers. Since 2008, we’ve seen consumers’ fraud knowledge increase by 35 percent and their willingness to report fraud increased by 28 percent.”
The IFPA reports that nearly one-half of fraud referrals and two-thirds of arrests in 2013 came from auto insurance. However, in 2013, the IFPA reported that the year’s fraud referral increases in the areas of homeowners insurance (12 percent), healthcare insurance (10 percent) and commercial liability insurance (126 percent) were greater than that of motor vehicle insurance (9 percent).
Also during 2013, IFPA grantees reported a total of 406 arrests, with prosecutions seeing 296 defendants convicted, including 61 imprisoned or confined, and with an additional 161 defendants being diverted to rehabilitation. Probation was imposed upon 357 defendants, and court-ordered restitution totaled $3,544,482, with defendants also being ordered to pay $730,113 in fines and penalties.
“The cooperation and communication of the insurance industry with Pennsylvania law enforcement has never been better,” added Burnham. “Insurers’ fraud reporting has doubled in Pennsylvania over the past several years, and in 2013 criminal convictions were up by 24 percent over those of 2012. In today’s world of computers, data devices, mobile devices and security cameras, fraudsters are finding it ever more difficult to conceal their criminal acts from fraud investigators in Pennsylvania’s insurance and law enforcement communities.”
Inquiries to the IFPA on insurance fraud may be addressed via email to Ms. Christine Cassel, IFPA Grants Administrator at[email protected]or by calling (717) 975-9074.
Report Insurance Fraud!A listing of law enforcement agencies that fight fraud can be found under “Reporting Insurance Fraud” atwww.helpstopFRAUD.org. To report anonymously, consumers can call the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s tip line at 1-800-TEL-NICB or the IFPA’s tip line at 1-888-565-IFPA.