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Suspicious car accident claims rise as bodily injury insurance claims grow
By Insure.com staff

New data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) suggests a link between the rising number of questionable insurance claims for car accidents and the growing number of claims for bodily injury and personal injury protection.

Last year the total number of car insurance claims for bodily injury/personal injury protection increased 15 percent to 4.2 million from 3.7 million in 2009. Meanwhile, the number of questionable claims for vehicle collisions rose 17 percent to 13,333 in 2010 from 11,391 the previous year.

Car insurance companies refer questionable claims to the bureau for investigation. A questionable claim for a car accident contains at least one sign of fraud.

Last year, there were 314 questionable insurance claims for car accidents for every 100,000 bodily injury/personal injury protection claims, compared to 309 questionable car accident claims for every 100,000 bodily injury/personal injury protection claims in 2009, an increase of 2 percent.

Areas with greatest number of questionable claims

The states generating the most questionable claims for vehicle collisions in 2010 were Florida, California, New York, Texas and Maryland. Cities generating the most suspicious car accident claims were New York, Tampa, Orlando, Los Angeles and Houston.

The NICB operates a Major Medical Fraud Task Force in each of those regions to address the growing number of illegitimate bodily injury claims. Each task force brings together investigators and analysts from the bureau, the insurance industry and law enforcement.

Fraud increases car insurance rates

Fraud increases costs for insurance companies, which are passed onto consumers in the form of higher car insurance rates. The Insurance Information Institute (III) estimates car insurance fraud could cost $1 billion in Florida alone by the end of this year. A typical two-car family in Florida pays an extra $100 a year in what amounts to a "fraud tax," according to analysis by the III.
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