Tips to national insurance fraud group doubled in 2009

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Tips from the public about insurance crimes to a national group doubled from 2008 to 2009, as people “lost their patience” with insurance fraud, the group said.

The Des Plaines, Ill.-based National Insurance Crime Bureau reported receiving 5,562 tips from the public in 2009 – more than doubling the 2,500 received in the previous year by telephone, online and through cell phone text messages. The nonprofit group added text messaging capabilities to its TIP411 reporting system last year.

In 2009, tipsters provided information to NICB investigators that helped uncover fraudulent insurance schemes, including medical fraud, chiropractors, auto body/glass repair shops and roofers and others.

“Some of these tips have led to investigations that involve criminal rings that are conducting operations involving millions of dollars in false insurance claims and payments,” said Joe Wehrle, NICB president and CEO, in a statement. “The increasing number of tips shows that the American public has lost its patience and is ready and eager to fight back. NICB and its member companies and law enforcement partners are actively pursuing these valuable leads and following them through with arrests and prosecutions.”

The NCIB is supported by more than 1,000 property-casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote nearly $343 billion in insurance premiums in 2008, or more than 82% of the nation’s property-casualty insurance.

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