New York Insurance Superintendent Howard Mills is campaigning totoughen up the state's light insurance fraud penalties, sending aflurry of letters to legislators urging them to break theirgridlock and tackle the problem.

Speaking at Orange County Chamber of Commerce in Newburgh, N.Y.,yesterday, Mr. Mills railed against puny fraud penalties in thestate. "The problem is that we really need to toughen the penaltiesfor insurance fraud in New York State. The penalties for fraud oninsurance are a joke," Mr. Mills said, a spokesman for the New YorkInsurance Department reported.

Spokesman Michael Barry said also that on June 15, Mr. Millssent a letter to New York State legislators on this topic. In theletter, Mr. Mills said that as the scheduled end to the legislativesession rapidly approaches, "I urge both houses to reach acompromise on several auto insurance fraud measures that will gettough on those who seek to exploit New York's no-fault law andfurther reduce automobile insurance rates for all New Yorkers."

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