Over a two-year timeframe, from 2009 to 2011, there was a 19-percent increase in questionable claims referred to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), according to an NICB report released today. NICB member insurance companies forward claims for closer review and investigation as to possible fraud to the not-for-profit organization, which focuses on preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. A single claim may contain up to seven referral reasons.

In its 2011 questionable claims (QC) referral reason analysis, the NICB examined six referral reason categories of claims: property, casualty, commercial, workers’ compensation, vehicle and miscellaneous referred in 2011, with those referred in 2009 and 2010.

According to the report, in 2009, there were 84,407 QCs referred to NICB from its member insurance companies. In 2010, that number increased to 91,797. In 2011, that number increased again to 100,450—a record level. This represents a 9.4-percent increase from 2010 to 2011.

Within the casualty category, “faked/exaggerated injury” and “excessive treatment” posted the highest number of 2011 referrals with 17,581 and 8,485 respectively. In the workers’ compensation category, “claimant fraud” received the highest with 2,085 referrals. In the vehicle category, “questionable vehicle theft” logged the most referrals in 2011 with 11,451 and—after posting 2,182 referrals in 2010—a 450 percent increase from 2009—“auto glass fraud” saw the steepest decline across all categories dropping to 817 referrals—a decrease of 1,365 from 2010.

“We are encouraged by the trend in auto glass questionable claims,” said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and CEO. “Our efforts to publicize this problem and to make insurers, law enforcement and the American public more aware of the potential fraud in the auto glass repair arena is hopefully having an impact. As we see trends showing an increase in questionable claims in a particular segment of insurance coverage, we can focus our efforts on investigating some of those claims and putting a stop to the criminals that are taking advantage of insurers and the public.”

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