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PIP Fraud in Florida is Rampant, if You are In an Automobile Accident in South Florida be Wary of the “Runner”, plus Studies Find Most Consumers are Lackadaisical of Florida’s PIP Fraud Issue

Floridians pay some of the highest automobile insurance premiums nationwide due to false injury claims and staged accidents, and yet studies like Accenture’s 2010 Consumer Survey show a growing trend of tolerance towards insurance fraud.

False Insurance Claims Cost the U.S. 80 Billions Dollars Annually

According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, inflated and false claims against all types of insurances cost the United States 80 billion dollars annually, and Florida’s governor, Rick Scott, reports a statewide cost of fraudulent PIP insurance claims are at one billion dollars yearly.

chart showing increase in PIP fraud in Florida

Image Credit: III.org

Scott also warns consumers of a yearly increase of 30 percent if not put in check.

Consumers are not oblivious to the correlation between the rising rate of insurance fraud and the increasing cost of their premiums, so why then do so many turn a blind eye to the crime?

Insurance Fraud is “Not” a Victimless Crime Since Raising Costs Are Passed to You, the Consumer

Most people would never consider stealing somebody else’s wallet, but to many, inflating or falsifying an insurance claim is a victimless crime.

2nd chart showing the huge increase in the No-fault insurance claims in Florida

Often folks justify their lies by claiming that the insurance companies have been bilking us out of our hard-earned dollars for years, and now I have a chance to get some of that back.

A Slack Attitude and “Not Hurting Anyone” is Costing Drivings Hundreds per Year

This attitude, “I’m not hurting anyone,” coupled with a low consumer opinion of insurance companies is both dangerous and costly.

Chart showing the amount of registered drivers in Florida

Note: As illustrated by the chart, the amount of registered drivers in Florida has stayed steady.

The statistics from the 2007 updated version of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud’s commissioned study, Four Faces: Why some Americans Do – and don’t tolerate insurance fraud, found a continual decline of faith in the insurers, as well as a steady increase in consumer acceptance of insurance fraud.

Chart showing the amount of traffic accidents in Florida

Note: The amount of traffic accident in the Florida has also stayed relatively steady.

In fact, the study found that while 31% of those surveyed, actually know someone who has committed insurance fraud, only 17% of those same participants reported a crime.

A more recent study by Accenture only confirms the growing tolerance and states that consumers in general feel that fraud stems from the economic downturn causing a desperate need for money, and the fact that people think they can get away with it.

chart showing the amount of PIP claims in Florida from 2010 to 2016

Note: As illustrated by the chart, the amount of PIP Claim per 100 accidents has climbed since year 2010.

Are they really getting away with it? Absolutely not!

Insurance Fraud is Widespread and More Common than Believed

There is a serious problem with this curious acceptance of an obvious crime; the more widespread and common a crime, the more it becomes tolerated.

Amount of fraud referrals in Florida from 2010 to 2014

Note: The amount of fraud referrals has steadily climbed since 2010.

Statistics credit: Florida Department of Financial Services: Division of Insurance Fraud.

However, just as retail stores raise their prices to cover losses due to shoplifting, so do the insurance companies.

Policyholders in Florida pay higher premiums due to higher occurrences of insurance fraud. I am willing to say that most people would not steal cash from another’s wallet, much less their own.

Average Monthly Car Insurance Premium Increase in Florida Year by Year

YearAverage Monthly Premium (Car Insurance)
2011$145.89
2012$164.43
2013$172.57
2014$193.32
2015$211.84
2016$224.27

Nor would they look the other way if they found someone else’s hand in their pocket.

Maybe if policyholders would bring their view of insurance fraud down to this personal level, they could better understand that they are a victim of this theft.

Numerous Cases with 100’s of Arrests Each Year, Plus PIP Law Reform

Operation Whiplash, Operation No-Med Services, and Operation Sledgehammer all investigations that successfully ended large-scale fraud rings, the latter alone brought about 100 arrests.

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Florida Governor Rick Scott, director Dan Anderson of the Division of Insurance Fraud, and executive director Walter Dartland of The Consumer Federation of the Southeast are all heavy hitters in the fight against insurance fraud in Florida.

Public Awareness is a Necessity to Help Mitigate Rising Insurance Costs

Together they continue to work on raising public awareness of insurance fraud costs, they have seen more than 500 arrests involving PIP insurance fraud, and Governor Scott recently signed a PIP law reform that will restrict where accident victims seek treatment to receive the full $10,000 in medical expenses and lost wages.

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No longer is massage therapy or acupuncture a PIP benefit as statistics show these types of clinics are usually involved in x-large insurance frauds.

Final Thoughts

Aside from funding for a national awareness campaign, the continued success of Florida’s war against PIP insurance fraud depends on consumers becoming intolerant of insurance fraud, and actively protecting their financial security by reporting known instances of insurance fraud, even through social media sites.

 

Penny Adams
Penny Adams is a freelance professional writer. Articles written are original, highly researched, and complete with sources listed. When not writing or telephone fund raising for non-profit organizations, I enjoy spending time with my daughter and granddaughter, growing food, and exploring the great outdoors in Michigan.

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