Fewer people think it's OK to pad insurance claims by a small amount than a decade ago, according to an online survey from the Insurance Research Council.
Twenty-four percent say it's acceptable to do so, versus 33 percent in 2002. Meanwhile, 18 percent say it's OK to increase a claim to make up for premiums paid in previous years when they had no claims, the lowest percentage since the question was first asked in a 1981 in-home survey.
Younger people, especially young men, were much more likely to view claim padding as acceptable. For example, among men ages 18 to 34, 23 percent agree it is all right to increase claim amounts to make up for premiums, compared with just 5 percent of older men and just 8 percent of 18- to 34-year-old women.
The study, "Insurance Fraud: A Public View, 2013 Edition," also found that 86 percent of Americans agree with the statement "insurance fraud leads to higher rates for everyone," while 10 percent agree that "insurance fraud doesn't hurt anyone."
"The decline in the public acceptance of fraud is encouraging," Elizabeth Sprinkel, senior vice president of the Insurance Research Council, said in a press statement. "However, the fact remains that nearly one in four Americans are tolerant of claim padding behavior that has direct implications for claim costs and the cost of insurance for consumers. Moreover, one in ten believe that insurance fraud doesn't hurt anyone, indicating the need for continued public education."
Survey respondents showed strong support for fraud-fighting efforts. Sixty-six percent approved of legislation to limit attorney and medical provider access to police accident reports for the purposes of soliciting new clients or patients, a marked increase from 2002. About 80 percent were willing to participate in claim processes that could help insurers detect and prevent fraud, such as examinations under oath or independent medical exams. Eighty-two percent agreed that people who commit insurance fraud should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, although the consequences favored for specific fraud activities were generally less severe than in 2002.
The online survey was conducted in June 2012 among 2,005 adults nationwide.