Insurance companies referred 7 percent more suspicious insurance claims to fraud investigators during the first three quarters of this year compared to the same period in 2010, according to a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Supported by more than 1,110 insurance companies and self-insured organizations, the bureau tracks questionable property, casualty and workers compensation claims referred by member companies for further investigation. Each questionable claim may contain one or more signs of fraud.
Insurance companies reported 74,944 questionable claims from January through September of this year, compared to 70,295 in the first three quarters of last year. This year's three-quarter total of questionable claims was 20 percent higher than the number of questionable claims referred to investigators in the same period in 2009.
Suspicious workers compensation and casualty insurance claims rose during the first three quarters, while the number of questionable claims for property and commercial insurance policies decreased slightly. About the same number of suspicious auto insurance claims for vehicle damage were referred for investigation, although insurance companies reported almost double the number of suspicious claims for hail damage.
Increased fraud raises costs for insurance companies, which leads to higher home and car insurance rates for consumers and higher workers compensation and commercial insurance premiums for businesses.