Scientists and insurers alike dubbed 2011 as the “year of the cat,” referencing the record-setting succession of natural disasters and the widespread losses inflicted as a result. Well, a new report from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) suggests another appropriate nickname: the “year of the cheat.”
That’s because the Des Plaines, Ill.-based non-profit organization logged a record number of questionable claims in 2011—100,450 to be exact. This six-digit figure not only represents a 9.4-percent increase from the 91,797 reported the year prior (in 2010) but also the highest number ever in NICB’s 100-year history. It also indicates a 19-percent increase in suspicious claims activity during a 2-year time period, from 2009 (in which NICB members referred 84,407 files) to 2011.
The NICB had reported a 7-percent spike in QCs in the third quarter of 2011. This most recent data suggests heavy suspicious activity within the casualty category. Specifically, “faked/exaggerated injury” and “excessive treatment” posted the highest number of 2011 referrals, with 17,581 and 8,485 respectively. In the workers’ compensation arena, “claimant fraud” received the highest with 2,085 referrals, while “questionable vehicle theft” in the vehicle category logged the most referrals in 2011 with a total of 11,451.
Amid these troubling numbers, a positive trend did emerge: “auto glass fraud” saw the steepest decline across all categories in dropping to 817 referrals—a decrease of 1,365 from 2010.