Questionable slip-and-fall insurance claims rose 12 percent in 2011, with small retail businesses among the newest victims of the crime, according to a report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
The NICB defines fraudulent slip-and-fall claims as incidents where "a person creates a false and potentially dangerous situation with the intent to fake a slip or fall for monetary gain."
An NICB review found there were 2,168 questionable slip-and-fall claims referred in 2011, an increase of 12 percent from the 1,944 referrals in 2010. The nation's biggest states registered the greatest numbers of questionable slip-and-fall claims from 2010-11:
- California (667)
- Florida (286)
- New York (280)
- Texas (245)
- Illinois (230)
Questionable slip-and-fall claims generally are filed against large businesses, the NICB reports. However, the organization also says it has learned of attempts to extort money from smaller retail operations.
Many of these small business owners decide it makes more financial sense to pay the claim without reporting it to police or insurers, making it "very difficult to gauge the extent of the problem," according to an NICB press statement.
The NICB encourages anyone with information about questionable slip-and-fall claims or other kinds of insurance fraud to report it anonymously by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422), by texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or by visiting the NICB website at www.nicb.org.