No Fault Auto Insurance Vulnerable To Fraud

Drivers in Florida may be paying an extra $658 million this year due to the effects of fraud and abuse of the state's no-fault auto insurance system, the Insurance Information Institute reports.

This is 7 percent more than the estimated $617 million consumers paid in higher premiums in 2010, growing despite increased efforts by law enforcement personnel and the insurance industry to investigate and prosecute fraudulent claims.

"The premium an auto insurer needed to cover the expected cost of a no-fault claim in Florida soared between the beginning of 2008 and the second quarter of 2011, hitting a new record high earlier this year," stated III president Robert Hartwig. "Fraud is driving claims frequency and severity generally upward, forcing up the premium needed to cover expected losses."

A number of states have mandate no-fault insurance coverage, which is optional in others. No-fault auto insurance is fairly common in Virginia, but not mandated. This may help drivers in the state avoid a similar trend. On the other hand, while Florida is an exceptional case, researchers noted the trend could expand to other states as well, costing drivers millions per year in premium hikes driven by fraudulent claims.

The organization also noted the data is worrisome in conjunction with recent National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that personal automobile policies were the source of the most questionable claims from 2008 to 2010. Questionable thefts and faked or exaggerated injuries were the leading characteristics of such claims.

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