This year, Governor Terry McAuliff declared May 11-17th as Insurance Fraud Awareness Week in Virginia. You may be thinking, “Does insurance fraud really need an awareness week?” or “Is insurance fraud really that big of a deal?” After learning the facts about insurance fraud, your answer to both of these questions will likely be, “yes.”
What is insurance fraud?
According to the Insurance Fraud Program (IFP), insurance fraud is a crime committed by someone who attempts to make money from an insurance transaction through deception. Insurance fraud comes in many different forms. Everything from exaggerated property losses to fake injury claims are considered insurance fraud.
Facts about insurance fraud provided by the IFP:
- Insurance fraud is the second most costly white-collar crime in the U.S., behind tax evasion
- Insurance fraud costs the average Virginia household $1,000 a year.
- Nationwide, insurance fraud robs us of nearly $80 billion a year.
- 1 out of 6 Virginians claim they know someone who has received workers’ compensation for an injury that did not occur on the job.
- More than 1 of every 3 bodily-injury claims from car crashes involve fraud.
- Arson and suspected arson account for nearly 500,000 fires a year, or 1 of every 4 fires in the U.S.
What can I do to help or receive more information?
If you have knowledge of fraudulent insurance activities you are encouraged to report them. The Insurance Fraud Program has a toll free number 1-877-62FRAUD. Or you can visit www.stampoutfraud.com. The website has a wealth of information regarding insurance fraud and its negative impact on society.
What if I have a legitimate claim?
The purpose of insurance is to help indemnify individuals for losses covered under a policy contract. This information should not prevent you from filing a claim if you believe you have a loss covered under your policy.