Wash. Commissioner Offers Testimony for Dedicated Unit to Combat Fraud

January 18, 2006

Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler offered testimony this week on commissioner-request legislation that would establish an anti-fraud unit within the Office of the Insurance Commissioner.

Washington is one of only nine states that doesn’t have an investigative unit dedicated to combating organized insurance fraud, a crime that cost Washington’s insurance industry an estimated $400 million annually.

“When it comes to insurance fraud in Washington,” Kreidler said, “we have what amounts to a big welcome sign at our borders.”

Kreidler pointed out the stark reality is that insurance fraud is too far down the priority list for local law enforcement agencies whose investigators are already stretched to capacity fighting violent crimes and maintaining public safety.

“These are complicated cases involving organized crime rings,” he said. “We need a resource that is specifically charged with investigating, pursuing and prosecuting these costly crimes.”

The anti-fraud unit would not require public tax dollars. The unit would be funded from an assessment paid by insurance companies who do business in the state.

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