The Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Insurance, and SLED are working together.
Insurance fraud in South Carolina has reached the point that three state agencies – the Attorney General’s Office, the Department of Insurance, and SLED – have come together to create a task force for the purpose of cracking down on cases.
South Carolina has the 17th highest rate of complaints regarding fraudulent claims in the US.
National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) data shows that South Carolina is in 17th place in the country for the amount of insurance fraud claims filed.
“Everybody’s paying for fraud. It’s not a victimless crime,” said Ray Farmer.
By stopping the scammers in their tracks, the agencies expect to provide measurable, meaningful benefits for residents of the state. It is currently estimated that 10 percent of the cost of insurance premiums is directly related to paying for fraudulent claims. Therefore, according to Attorney General LaRone Washington, reducing that means reducing premiums. He pointed out that 10 percent of premiums equates to as much as $1,000 per year in added premiums.
“If insurance fraud in South Carolina did not exist, it’s the equivalent of if someone at Christmas gave you a check for $1,000, and that would be what every household saves,” said Washington.
The majority of the fraudulent claim have to do with auto collisions. They comprised 59 percent of the total claims filed in South Carolina last year. The state currently ranks in 8th place in the country for staged vehicle collisions. Fraudulent claims are a substantial issue in South Carolina, said Washington.
“This is a huge problem these trends are going up. Folks are finding that it’s rewarding business to do,” said Washington. “This is big business, so we need to commit real resources to combating it and the legislature really took to it.”
Washington went on to describe a range of different ways that criminals conduct insurance fraud through staged auto accidents. “Criminals are a lot smarter than people give them credit for,” he said. The new task force is receiving $2 million in funding from the General Assembly. This will be used for acquiring more resources, to conduct investigations and to prosecute cases.