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The National Insurance Crime Bureau and its Florida law enforcement partners, with strong support from Florida state and local legislative and political leaders and the insurance industry, have worked diligently for several years to meet the challenges presented by criminals who have attacked Florida’s no-fault insurance program with non-stop acts of fraud.
This wave of personal injury protection (PIP) fraud first appeared in south Florida years ago, and NICB was quick to respond by opening the first of its medical fraud task forces in Weston, Fla., in 2002. The task force model was successful and led to the creation of six more around the nation, including Florida’s second located in Hillsborough County.
As with most crime, when a sufficient amount of enforcement is applied, it either ceases or it moves to another area. That has been our experience not only in Florida, but in other no-fault states as well. As law enforcement pressure was applied in south Florida, the groups involved in no-fault scams began moving around the state. As a result, in 2010, NICB opened its Central Florida Major Medical Fraud Task Force in Hillsborough County to address no-fault fraud’s migration.
Fraud fighting efforts were also enhanced by insurer and law enforcement investigations, news stories of arrests and the passage of the Hillsborough County “PIP Medical Providers Ordinance” last year. All of these factors have led to the reduction in PIP questionable claims since May, 2011.
The county ordinance generated significant attention and its adoption has certainly helped to push PIP fraud elsewhere. While the county ordinance is helpful, it is limited to Hillsborough County. The reality is that there needs to be a comprehensive, statewide PIP fraud legislative remedy.
There are three essential elements to any crime prevention program: legislation, enforcement, and prosecution. We have tremendous investigative and prosecutive support in Florida; we need comprehensive legislation.
About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation’s leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness.
The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $319 billion in insurance premiums in 2010, or approximately 80 percent of the nation’s property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 94 percent ($152 billion) of the nation’s personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.
Source: National Insurance Crime Bureau