Dear Fellow Floridians:
This week, I’ll be speaking at the annual Florida Insurance Fraud Education Committee Conference in Orlando. This conference is the largest of its kind in the nation, and I’m proud that our Division of Insurance Fraud not only has a seat at the table, but that it plays an integral role in the planning of this event that brings together the entire insurance industry.
Insurance fraud is an elusive, evolving crime. As detection and prevention efforts strengthen, the criminals who seek to defraud change their methods and adapt their schemes. It is only through collaborative efforts that we are able to make a meaningful impact in the fight against this costly crime. We are taking down larger, more complex fraud rings because of our collective efforts across the state.
By bringing together all of the pieces of this puzzle–insurers, law enforcement, as well as prosecutors–we are able to gather and share information, improve our strategies and work smarter by empowering one another.
And the numbers show that our efforts are working. Just this fiscal year alone we’ve made more than 1,200 insurance fraud arrests. But even more importantly, these arrests have led to 1,083 convictions. That’s a conviction rate of 89 percent.
What’s more meaningful than raw numbers is what they mean to you, your family and your household budget. This fiscal year alone we have filed criminal charges in $47 million worth of insurance fraud. Considering the past four-and-a-half years, that number skyrockets to $210 million. When insurance companies lose money due to acts of fraud, they pass that loss onto consumers in the form of higher premiums. That means when scam artists and fraudsters steal money, they aren’t just taking money away from insurance companies, they are ultimately taking money away from you, and me, and all of the hard-working, honest consumers in our state.
As a consumer, you can help keep fraudsters out of all of our pockets by reporting suspected acts of insurance fraud by calling us. The number to report suspected acts of insurance fraud is 1-800-378-0445 and you can choose to remain anonymous if you wish. If the information you provide leads directly to an arrest and conviction, you may be eligible for a cash reward as part of our anti-fraud reward program.
Together, we can make the next year a benchmark in the fight to detect, deter and defend against fraud.
Chief Financial Officer
State of Florida