California Suspects Auto Insurance Fraud Increasing As Economy Worsens

July 29, 2009

California’s Department of Insurance recently compiled statistics that show scam artists may be committing more automobile insurance fraud to cash in on insurance money. The Department of Insurance has seen an increase in suspected auto arson and auto theft fraud referrals last year, the DOI indicated.

“Department of Insurance investigators have seen an increase in suspected automobile arson and theft fraud cases recently, and our enforcement experts are working hard to crack down on anyone attempting to skirt the law for financial gain,” said Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner

The Department of Insurance receives referrals of suspected fraud cases from insurance companies, local law enforcement agencies and directly from consumers. CDI enforcement officers carefully examine every case that is brought to the Department’s attention.

CDI saw a 25 percent increase in suspected vehicle arson fraud cases in 2008, as compared with referred cases in 2007. In 2007, CDI received 344 referrals for suspected automobile arson; in 2008, CDI received 451 referrals for suspected automobile arson. Overall, the Department received almost 300 additional suspected vehicle theft and vehicle arson cases statewide in 2008 than in 2007. CDI received approximately 200 more suspected vehicle theft fraud case referrals in 2007 than in 2008.

While the total number of suspected fraud case referrals received by CDI for all automobile fraud categories (including inflated damages, vandalism and hit and run,) has remained relatively constant since 2007, suspected vehicle arson and theft referrals have noticeably increased.

Source: CDI

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