“Everyone pays for fraud. It’s not a victimless crime, ”said Ray Farmer, director of the Insurance Department.
Assistant Attorney General LaRone Washington added that fighting SC insurance fraud benefits citizens of the state as 10% of insurance premiums are directly related to fraud – with 10% representing more than $ 1,000 in additional insurance premium payments per year.
“If there was no insurance fraud in South Carolina, it would be like someone giving you a check for $ 1,000 for Christmas, and that would save every household,” Washington said.
Washington also told WIS News 10 that most of the fraudulent claims filed in the state were related to car accidents. He also gave perspective, noting that car accidents – both real and fraudulent – accounted for 59% of total damage in SC in 2020. SC also ranks 8th in staged car accidents in the United States.
“Criminals are a lot smarter than you think they are,” he said. I think they kind of understand, ‘This is what we’re starting to get away with,’ and they see the trends, just like the rest of us, they say, ‘Okay, my cousin, my boyfriend did it and nothing happened to them. “
Washington said about 35 other states have similar interagency partnerships to fight insurance fraud. He also said that North Carolina collects millions in insurance fraud refunds every year and that NC has ten times the number of full-time insurance fraud investigators in SC. SC’s new program hopes to mirror what NC has, commented Washington.
“The Department of Insurance experts will be used by the SLED agents, and then the SLED agents will develop the case and dispose of any charges that need to be signed by the Attorney General,” Farmer said.
The task force is funded with around $ 2 million from the General Assembly and is expected to be fully operational by September 1, 2021, reported WIS News 10.