Industry group NICB reports rise in suspected insurance fraud in first quarter

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), an insurance industry group, collects nationwide data about questionable insurance claims from its member insurance companies in an effort to estimate the rate and types of insurance fraud occurring in the U.S. In its latest analysis released today, the NICB estimates that property, casualty, commercial, workers’ comp and miscellaneous insurance fraud increased by about 23 percent in the first quarter of 2011 over the same period two years ago.

Interestingly, the organization did not find a similar increase in fraudulent claims involving auto insurance. On February 17, we reported the NICB’s claim that questionable car insurance claims and suspected staged accidents had soared by 58 percent between 2008 and 2009 in the State of Florida. The group largely blamed the economy and Florida’s no-fault car insurance law for the increase.

Suspected auto insurance fraud down overall, but suspicious car accidents still on the rise

In its analysis of the first quarter 2011 numbers, which reflect nationwide data, vehicle insurance fraud claims were actually down by four percent. Fraud against motor vehicle insurance can range from odometer fraud to staging a fake auto accident, and the incidence of suspicious accidents does appear to have gone up nationwide. According to the NICB’s numbers, the number of car accidents that insurance companies found questionable rose by nearly 136 percent between the first quarter of 2009 and the same period in 2011.

The NICB’s numbers are based on insurance company reports of questionable claims (QCs), not proven instances of insurance fraud. The organization analyzes insurance company QCs in order to provide “an early warning statistical snapshot of potentially fraudulent activity” so that insurers and other industry groups can step up fraud prevention and detection efforts in the areas where there appear to be increases.

Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau news release, “NICB Sees 23 Percent Rise in First Quarter 2011 Suspicious Claims,” May 18, 2011