The state’s Insurance Department has added 15 agents to its team of scam hunters.
The North Carolina Department of Insurance has announced the expansion of its insurance fraud investigation team. Fifteen new special agents will take part in criminal investigations.
North Carolina Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey made the announcement.
The additional insurance fraud investigating team members have doubled the previous size of the department, said Causey. The N.C. Insurance Commissioner has implemented a new strategy for eliminating scams and fraudulent activities involving insurance in North Carolina. The expansion of the investigation team is one component of the broader plan.
The new special agents were sworn in on March 16, 2018. State Supreme Court Justice Barbara Jackson swore in the new insurance team members as officers of the NCDOI Fraud Control Group.
Causey has made fighting insurance fraud a primary mission during his time as insurance commissioner.
“One of the first things I did when I took office was meet with our criminal investigations division,” Causey said. “I learned, because of the vast number of insurance fraud complaints in this state, we were shorthanded on the number of investigators to examine them.”
Fraud has become problematic in the North Carolina insurance industry. Every month, between 400 and 500 criminal insurance fraud complaints are filed in the state. Last year, 334 individuals were arrested for violations related to insurance. That was Causey’s first year in office and represented an increase of 60 percent over the number of insurance fraud arrests in 2016. This, according to the NCDOI’s figures.
The insurance fraud arrests led to the recovery of about $14.1 million from the criminals.
Every year, fraudulent insurance activities come with a price tag of about 15 to 20 cents on every dollar consumers spend on their policy premiums. Clearly, these criminal activities have become very expensive within the state.
Approval for the additional insurance fraud agents occurred in the North Carolina General Assembly in 2017. It gave the green light to $2.4 million to hire the new NCDOI criminal investigations division agents. The new hires include special agents, a crime analyst, attorneys, and a forensic accountant.