Education Effort Targets Staged Accident Activity From Tampa to Miami
Tampa, FL, February 11, 2011 The National Insurance Crime Bureau and one of its member companies, State Farm Insurance, are urging Florida motorists to drive with care as they navigate area streets increasingly used to stage phony accidents. Using billboards, bus shelters, radio announcements and other media, the two organizations are extending a program that was conducted in Tampa from June through December, last year.
A staged accident sets up an innocent victim driver as the at fault driver by causing the victim driver to collide with another vehicle-occupied by perpetrators of the staged accident scheme. These victims then seek payment from insurance companies for damage to their vehicle and for medical treatment of injuries that are usually non-existent.
Entire rings of criminals operate these schemes and often they involve unscrupulous medical professionals and lawyers all eager to cash in on the fraud.
In response to this growing problem-unintentionally assisted by Floridas no-fault auto insurance environment-NICB opened one of its first Major Medical Fraud Task Force (MMFTF) offices in Weston. This office was opened in 2002 to specifically address the fraud associated with staged accident rings. Last year, NICB opened its second Florida MMFTF in Tampa, making Florida the only state with two of these highly specialized units.
A well-informed population can make an impact on this problem. Increasing Floridians awareness of these scams and how they can protect themselves is at the heart of this NICB-State Farm educational project.
From January through June, ads and public service announcements will be airing over key English and Spanish-speaking media outlets providing valuable information. Anyone with information concerning staged accidents, vehicle theft and insurance fraud can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422), by texting keyword fraud to TIP411 (847411) or by visiting NICBs web site at www.nicb.org.
Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nations leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through information analysis, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by nearly 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $319 billion in insurance premiums in 2009, or more than 78 percent of the nations property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($151 billion) of the nations personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.
Jose Soto, State Farm Public Affairs Specialist, Miami Area, (305) 421-0213
Lisa Weathersbee, State Farm Public Affairs Specialist, Tampa Area, (863) 318-4330
Frank Scafidi, NICB Public Affairs Director, (916) 979-1510
State Farm insures more cars and homes than any other insurer in the U.S., is the leading insurer of watercraft and is also a leading insurer in Canada. Our 17,800 agents and more than 66,000 employees serve 81 million policies and accounts more than 79 million auto, fire, life and health policies in the United States and Canada, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 34 on the Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit statefarm.com® or in Canada statefarm.ca®.