Do you suspect someone you know has committed home insurance fraud? This crime is more prevalent than you might realize. The Insurance Information Institute estimates up to $34 billion was distributed in fraudulent payouts each year between 2011 and 2015. These payouts hurt policyholders as well as insurers by contributing to rising rates and premiums.
Why You Should Report Suspected Fraud
Your insurance premiums are based upon pooled resources, shared with fellow policyholders and the insurance company you’ve chosen. When you apply for a policy, you’re asked a series of questions. The answers to those questions are used to calculate the risk you add to the pool. This is done for two reasons: first, to ensure no single policyholder presents a greater risk than the premiums they contribute, and second, to be certain no single policyholder is contributing premiums greater than the risk they present.
Fraud Committed by Policyholders
Fraudulent claims deplete the pooled resources available to all other policyholders. To make up for these losses, insurance rates are increased for you and everyone else. Classified as a white-collar crime in the United States, insurance fraud is still a very serious matter. It is a crime to submit misleading or false information to an insurer on a policy application or insurance claim in the State of Florida. Under Florida law, anyone submitting insurance claims based on exaggerated, deliberate, or false injury or loss has committed insurance fraud. Lack of reporting on this crime hurts everyone.
Fraud Committed by Contractors
While individuals are often guilty of submitting fraudulent claims, contractors may also try to defraud insurance companies by offering to eliminate deductibles for homeowners. They often ask the homeowner sign an Assignment of Benefits, or AOB form. Signing this form allows the contractor to inflate the costs of repairs, and even sue the insurance company if the inflated claims are called into question. Always contact your insurance company first, before signing any forms or allowing a contractor to begin work.
Ways to Report Suspected Fraud
There are several ways you can report suspected home insurance fraud in Florida.
Before lodging a complaint with any agency, it’s best to be well prepared with as much information as possible to increase the chances of your report being fully investigated. If possible, include:
Home insurance fraud is not a victimless crime. Protect yourself and your neighbors from rising rates by working to help combat insurance fraud whenever possible.
This article is for informational purposes only and does not form a part of, replace, change or amend any terms, conditions, provisions or language within your Olympus Insurance policy. We encourage you to read your entire policy.