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Hamm: Insurance fraud second most profitable crime in America
 
BISMARCK, N.D.—North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm reminded consumers today that insurance fraud affects everyone—and everyone can play a part in stopping it.
 
Insurance fraud is now the second most profitable crime in America, behind only illegal drug sales. It is estimated that fraud costs consumers between $400 and $700 per year in increased home and auto insurance premiums alone. Nov. 3-9 is International Fraud Awareness Week.
 
“The number one way to stop fraud is to report it,” Hamm said. “If you suspect you have witnessed or have been a victim of insurance fraud, please call the Department and speak to one of our investigators.”
 
Insurance fraud takes many forms. Consider the following tips to help fight fraud:
  • Don’t be tempted. Some people treat an accident or burglary as an opportunity to benefit financially by including other unreported damage or theft, or by exaggerating a legitimate claim.
  • Drive carefully. In 2010, two Fargo men were charged with intentionally causing auto accidents and inflicting further damage to their vehicles to increase the value of the insurance claims. Allow plenty of space between you and other vehicles. Don’t become a victim.
  • Only buy insurance from licensed agents. Find out if a company or an agent is licensed to do business on the Insurance Department’s website, www.nd.gov/ndins, or by calling 1-800-247-0560.
  • Pay your premium directly to the company. In 2012, a Bismarck insurance agent was charged with felony theft of property and insurance fraud after stealing more than $1 million from his elderly clients. Give your insurance policy premium directly to the company in check or money order form. Don’t pay in cash and don’t give anyone a blank check.
  • Tell the truth. Lying about mileage driven on an auto insurance policy or about a medical condition on a life insurance policy is misrepresentation. It’s also insurance fraud.
  • Report it. If you suspect fraud, call the Department to report it.
 
From 2001–2006, only four fraud cases were reported to the Department. That number grew to 50 in 2009. As of September 2013, 114 fraud cases have been reported to the Department this year. The amount of loss due to fraud in North Dakota was $188,047 in 2009. That amount increased to $714,104 in 2012. The Insurance Department employs two sworn peace officers dedicated to investigating and prosecuting claims of insurance fraud.
 
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North Dakota Insurance Department
600 E. Boulevard Ave.
Bismarck, ND 58505-0320
Phone 701.328.2440
Toll free 800.247.0560
Fax 701.328.4880

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