TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – March 30, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater remains focused on raising awareness about the impact that insurance fraud has on Floridians as Fraud Prevention Month comes to a close. The overall cost of insurance fraud, estimated at more than $80 billion nationwide annually, not only damages insurance companies’ abilities to remain competitive and to provide low rates, but also poses a fiscal drain to law-abiding consumers.
Insurance fraud has many forms, but according the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the three most prevalent types of insurance fraud are auto insurance, homeowners’ insurance and workers’ compensation. To combat this crime trend, the Department of Financial Services’ Division of Insurance Fraud (DIF) aggressively combats acts of insurance fraud in Florida.
Since CFO Atwater took office in January 2011, DIF personnel have made 5,708 insurance fraud arrests and, more importantly, these arrests have led to 4,485 fraud convictions. During the last four years, the Department’s relationships with local law enforcement have strengthened and partnerships with State Attorney’s Offices have been forged to create the Division’s current 96 percent conviction rate.
Personal injury protection, or PIP, fraud accounts for nearly 50 percent of all fraud referrals in Florida. Aimed at addressing this issue, the Florida Legislature passed HB119 in 2012 that was designed to reduce PIP fraud to yield savings for consumers. Since taking effect, Florida has seen a statewide 13.6 percent decrease, which translates to $65 in savings per policyholder. CFO Atwater continues the fight to bring rates down even further.
In addition to curbing fraud by prosecuting offenders, the Department also works to educate Floridians to help arm them against becoming victims of fraud. The Division of Consumer Services offers educational information to inform consumers about how they can better protect themselves from fraud and, if fraud occurs, provides information so consumers know where to turn for help.
If you are aware of or suspect insurance fraud may be taking place, please contact the Department’s Insurance Fraud Hotline by calling 1-800-378-0445, or visit our website at www.MyFloridaCFO.com/Fraud. Citizens who provide tips can elect to remain anonymous. Our Anti-Fraud Reward Program awards individuals up to $25,000 for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction in an insurance fraud scheme.
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Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater, a statewide elected official, oversees the Department of Financial Services. CFO Atwater’s priorities include fighting financial fraud, abuse and waste in government, reducing government spending and regulatory burdens that chase away businesses, and providing transparency and accountability in spending. Follow the activities of the Department on Facebook (FLDFS) and Twitter (@FLDFS).
Contact: Ashley Carr
(850) 413 – 2842