NICB Reports That “Questionable” Auto Glass Claims Continue to Rise; Up 511 Percent for First Three Quarters of 2010
December 13, 2010

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says “questionable” auto glass claims were up 511 percent for the first three quarters of 2010, compared with the same period of last year, according to its latest report. The group, a not-for-profit organization funded by approximately 1,000 property/casualty insurance companies, reports that 2,036 questionable auto glass claims were referred to it during this period, compared with 333 during the first quarter of 2009—a difference of 1,703 claims.

Questionable Claims for First Three Quarters
Referral Reason 2009 2010 Percent Change
Suspected Auto Glass Fraud 333 2,036 +511 percent
All Reasons 25,120 26,649 +6 Percent
Source: NICB

Compared with the first three quarters 2008, NICB reports that questionable auto glass claims are up 995 percent—from 186 in the first three quarters of 2008.

The group releases its questionable claims report at various stages throughout the year and tracks claims that its member insurance companies refer for closer review and investigation based on one or more indicators of possible fraud. The report notes that each claim can be referred for up to seven reasons, and other vehicle referral reasons include items such as inflated tow bills/storage, faked damage, unperformed repairs, suspect rental bills, and phantom accidents.

Overall, questionable claims for vehicles are up 6 percent from the first three quarters of last year, totaling 26,648 in 2010 and 25,120 in 2009; the number of auto glass claims included in the report for the first three quarters of 2010 (2,036) makes up 8.1 percent of the total number of questionable claims.

“Criminals who commit insurance fraud believe in equal opportunity—they will commit fraud anytime and anyplace they choose,” says NICB president and CEO Joe Wehrle.  ”Auto glass fraud and towing-related scams are occurring across the nation, but criminals also look for the path of least resistance, so increasingly they are choosing states like Florida and New York where ‘no-fault’ insurance provides a fertile environment for auto-related personal injury protection scams.”

The latest report follows several over the last two years with similar findings; earlier this year, NICB reported that for the first half of 2009, it had 239 questionable auto glass claims referred to it, compared with 1,498 for the first half of 2010, and up 527 percent. Prior to that, in 2009 overall the group reported that suspicious auto glass claims were up 76 percent over the previous year.

While questionable auto glass claims may be up, NICB spokesperson Frank Scifaldi says questionable claims don’t always result in fraudulent ones.

“These are not definitive fraud cases at all,” Scifaldi told glassBYTEs.com™/AGRR magazine. “These are cases that the member companies—of which there are more than 1,000—have the option of referring … as questionable to us.”

The NICB is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., which says its mission is to “prevent, detect and defeat insurance fraud.”

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