Insurance companies reported 4.5 percent more suspicious insurance claims to fraud investigators in the first half of this year compared to the same period in 2010, according to a new report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
In the first six months of 2011, suspicious medical-related claims, which includes suspected inflated billing and exaggerated injuries, rose 17 percent over the same period last year. The same goes for property insurance claims that raised eyebrows: they're up 17 percent year-over-year. Questionable vehicle damage and loss claims declined by 1 percent.
The bureau tracks questionable property, casualty and workers compensation claims referred by member insurance companies for further investigation. A single questionable claim may contain one or more signs of fraud.
During the months of January through June of this year, 48,887 questionable claims were referred to the bureau, up 4.5 percent from t 46,766 reported in the first half of 2010 and up 18.3 percent from 41,309 questionable claims referred in the first six months of 2009.
Increases in fraud lead to higher costs for insurers and higher home and car insurance rates for consumers.