What's a little fraud between friends?

By Mark Vallet


Dented car bumperA whopping 24 percent of Americans are comfortable with insurance fraud.

A new online survey by the Insurance Research Council (IRC) found that almost a quarter of respondents had no issue increasing an insurance claim by a small amount to help cover the deductible. Additionally, 18 percent of respondents went even further, claiming it was perfectly all right to increase the claim amount to make up for premiums paid in previous years when they had not made a claim.

Despite these somewhat dismal results, the numbers are moving in the right direction, says the IRC, comparing the most recent data with results over the last 32 years. The percentage of respondents willing to fudge a claim to cover a deductible, for example, fell from 33 percent in 2002.

Despite the decline, IRC Senior Vice President Elizabeth Sprinkel says there is still work to be done. Padding “has direct implications for claim costs and the cost of insurance for consumers,” she says.  

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The IRC survey, “Insurance Fraud: A Public View, 2013 Edition,” found that while 10 percent of respondents agree that "insurance fraud doesn't hurt anyone," a more responsible 86 percent agreed with the statement "insurance fraud leads to higher rates for everyone."

Most willing to pad a claim are young males. While only 5 percent of older males were willing to massage the numbers, 23 percent of men 18 to 34 felt that it was all right to run up the claim amount.

The IRC survey also asked respondents about possible changes in laws to stem fraud and attempted fraud:

  • 66 percent said they would approve of limiting access to police reports by lawyers and medical providers.
  • 80 percent said they were willing to undergo some inconvenience to cut down on fraud.
  • 82 percent said they would submit to an independent medical examination.
  • 85 percent said they would be willing to take an examination under oath.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau has reported a marked rise in suspicious claims since 2010. (See “Suspicious claims on the rise.”)

-- By Mark Vallet, CarInsurance.com contributor

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