New York State
Insurance Department


ISSUED: 1/18/2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 
2000 RECORD YEAR FIGHTING FRAUD, NUMBER OF ARRESTS AND
CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS AT ALL TIME HIGH

             Superintendent of Insurance Neil D. Levin today announced that the Department’s year-end fraud fighting statistics show that arrests and criminal convictions reached an all time high. In 2000, arrests increased almost 30% and there was a 64% increase in criminal convictions.

             "Staged accidents, bogus insurance claims, medical mills--it’s become big business to rip off insurance companies and New York’s consumers are paying the price," said Levin. "The increases in arrests and criminal convictions during 2000 are evidence that Governor Pataki’s leadership in devoting new resources and the Department’s aggressive work to weed out insurance fraud, are working across the State to protect New York’s consumers from insurance fraud and higher rates."

             In 1996, Governor George E. Pataki championed a program bill that increased penalties for workers’ compensation fraud and required the creation of special fraud investigation units be set up by all insurers. That same year, the crime of Aggravated Insurance Fraud was made a felony if a person has been convicted within the preceding five years of any fraudulent insurance act. In 1998, a Governor’s program bill amended the insurance law requiring HMO’s to create special fraud investigation units, and the Children's Health Insurance Plan bill was passed adding a new section to the insurance law making it a crime to submit written or other physical evidence in support of a claim that is fraudulent. In 1998, the Department issued a directive requiring all insurers in the state to file a fraud prevention plan. In 1999, the Frauds Bureau approved plans for 420 insurers.

             The New York State Insurance Department released their Annual Frauds Report to the Legislature this week. Highlights from the 2000 Annual Frauds Report include:

             The report also outlines the Department’s fraud fighting plans for 2001, which include a strong focus on eliminating no-fault fraud by working with the New York City Police Department and Department of Motor Vehicles to examine ways to permit timely access to authentic accident report information to insurers, training police officers around the State in ways to recognize staged accidents, and by working with insurers in support of their efforts in auditing medical facilities in order to identify those that are bogus.

             "Our year-end results prove that our stepped up efforts with local police departments, prosecutors and insurance companies throughout the State are working to protect consumers from insurance fraud and higher rates. The Department will continue to focus on not just arrests, but criminal convictions. We have met with District Attorneys across the state and over 300 representatives from more than 100 insurance companies. We are committed to continuing this trend which sends out a strong, clear message, that insurance fraud will not be tolerated in New York State," added Levin.

             A copy of the Insurance Frauds Bureau’s report is available on the Department’s Web site www.ins.state.ny.us or by calling 1-800-342-3736 to request a copy.


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