Many people can speculate that the poor economy drives people to commit insurance fraud, but there has been no solid statistical evidence to back up that speculation. However, a report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) shows an increase in the number of questionable claims (QC) related to possible cases of insurance fraud during the past year as the economy continued its downward spiral. An analysis of QCs submitted by the more than 1,000 NICB members companies in the first quarter of 2009, versus the first quarter of 2008, shows a definite increase in claims related to what is termed "opportunistic fraud."

The NICB report covers only questionable claims submitted by member insurance companies. These claims have already been reviewed by the companies and classified as possibly fraudulent. The full report is available online at

"The NICB's report is in line with much of the data and anecdotal information we've gathered from our insurer members and other sources," says Dennis Jay, executive director of the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud. "The poor economy may be driving normally good people to do bad things. Hardcore insurance criminals also have more opportunity to entice normally honest people into their fraudulent schemes."

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