NYSID Reports Record Fraud Fighting Year

January 27, 2004

The New York State Insurance Department’s Frauds Bureau 2003 Annual Report details some significant achievements made over the past year to combat insurance fraud.

The Bureau racked up a record number of fraud arrests, put more fraud investigators in prosecutors’ offices, and had a key a court decisio on Regulation 68 upheld, strengthening its commitment to identifying and stopping fraud.

The Annual Report was released in conjunction with “Get Smart About Insurance Week,” which serves to remind all New Yorkers of the need to educate themselves about their insurance coverage as well as about the types of insurance fraud and how fraud affects the honest premium-paying insurance consumer.

“The Annual Report illustrates that 2003 was a successful year for our anti-fraud initiatives and, in turn, a terrible year for those who commit insurance fraud. Our frauds investigators are better trained and better positioned to combat fraud than ever before, allowing the Department to make more insurance fraud arrests,” commented Superintendent Gregory V. Serio.

“The Report details the efforts of the Department’s Frauds Bureau to combat fraud, but an important piece of the fraud fighting effort is the need for New Yorkers to do their part too. ‘Get Smart About Insurance Week’ underscores the need for insurance consumers to become educated about insurance, including insurance fraud and to become familiar with the varying ways insurance fraud can be perpetrated in an effort to reduce fraud and minimize its impact.”

The Department stressed that its partnering efforts with other law enforcement agencies, insurers and the public reached new levels in 2003. “Attorney General Spitzer, the district attorneys across the state and the insurance community contributed significant support to the Department’s fraud-fighting efforts, “Serio continued. “Multi-agency investigations, representing an unprecedented level of cooperation, have become routine, as law enforcement agencies on all levels increasingly work together to combat insurance fraud to best serve the people of New York State.”

Highlights of the report include:
— The 811 arrests in 2003 topped the previous year’s level by 15% and is nearly a 200% increase from the 1997 level of 276 arrests.
— The Frauds Bureau also conducted 54 Continuing Education programs that helped teach local law enforcement how to identify, detect and combat fraud. The programs were attended by more than 5,000 participants and are a key component in the Department’s ongoing work to partner with other agencies to fight fraud.
— The Bureau expanded a program that puts our investigators in prosecutors’ offices to work side-by-side with their investigative staff. The initiative helps to ensure that our cases are given due consideration. Thus far, eight DAs’ Offices are involved in the program and several others have expressed interest.
— In 2003 the State Court of Appeal’s decision upheld Regulation 68 which is an important anti-fraud measure that reduces the time limit for filing claims.

Commenting on the court decision, Serio indicated it was “a victory for all hardworking premium-paying New York drivers. It is a substantial step forward in our fight against auto insurance fraud and abuse, and we anticipate that the effects of Regulation 68 will further stabilize the auto insurance marketplace in New York State.”

A copy of the Insurance Frauds Annual Bureau’s Report is available on the Department’s Web site www.ins.state.ny.us or by calling 1-800-342-3736 to request a copy.

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