Staged Auto Accidents: They’re hitting us all in the wallet in the form of bigger and bigger car insurance bills.
That’s why local and state fraud investigators recently opened up some of their criminal files to give us an inside view of how local phony-accident scams work and how our auto insurance scams may now be the worst in the country.
The most popular is called a “Jump In”.
According to fraud investigators, the members of auto-scam groups are intentionallly crashing cars and allowing so-called “victims” who were not even inside, to jump into the vehicles after the staged accident.
That way, they can file phony injury claims and collect big bucks from the insurance company through the help of cooperating Docters and Lawyers.
It’s big business that getting bigger by the day around South Florida according Special Agent Tony Fernandez of the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
How big are the losses?
According to Fernandez, “You’re talking billions”.
According to insurance fraud specialists, South Florida is now poised to take the top spot for staged accidents away from Tampa-St. Pete.
And with car insurance fraud South Florida’s latest growth industry, the money can only come from one place: Bigger insurance bills for local policyholders.
State CFO Jeff Atwater says “We’re the number one state on the country and that’s why our residents have such high auto insurance bills, because of the level of fraud that exists here.”
While staged accidents may be making money, police and prosectuors say they’re having a tougher time keeping up with it all.
NICB’s Fernandez explains, “The money right now is nil for training, investigations, prosecutions, police just can’t keep up with it all.”
Reforming Floridas’ personal injury insurance laws is now expected to be one the main focuses of state lawmakers when they meet again in January.
In the meantime, fraud investigators say local auto-insurance fraud rings are getting better organized as they become even better funded than several years ago.
For local drivers, that could mean no real end in sight to those higher insurance bills in the future.