Washington Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler has appointed a veteran of the State Patrol to manage the agency’s newly authorized insurance anti-fraud program.
Capt. Robert Veliz of Yakima, a 26-year veteran of the State Patrol, will head the special unit that is charged with protecting the public and the state’s economy from financial loss associated with organized insurance fraud. Veliz, who is retiring from the State Patrol to assume the new position, most recently was assigned as WSP’s Commander for District 3 (Southeastern Washington) headquartered in Yakima.
The Legislature approved the anti-fraud unit last session after Kreidler testified that Washington, one of the few remaining states in the nation without a dedicated fraud program, was becoming more attractive to insurance scammers and organized fraud rings.
“Insurance fraud costs Washington insurers and consumers as much as $400 million annually,” he said. “Robert and his staff will be starting out small and they will build on their successes as they go,” Kreidler said of the six-member unit that will report to Chief Deputy Commissioner Mike Watson.
Veliz, a 1974 graduate of Tacoma’s Lincoln High School, earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Washington. He also is a graduate of the Police Staff and Command School at Northwestern University. He holds peace officer certification status and both mid-management and executive management certificates from the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission.
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