NICB Releases 2010 Full-Year Report; Insurer Group Reports 450 Percent Increase in "Questionable" Auto Glass Claims
February 23, 2011

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has released its latest “questionable” claims referral reason analysis, and says questionable auto glass claims increased by 450 percent from 2009 to 2010. NICB defines questionable claims as “those claims that NICB member insurance companies refer to NICB for closer review and investigation based on one or more indicators of possible fraud.”

NICB officials say that in 2010, the bureau’s members reported 2,182 “questionable” auto glass claims, compared with 397 in 2009—a difference of 1,785 (450 percent).

In 2008, the group reports that it received reports of only 252 “questionable” auto glass claims—58 percent less than in 2009.

Auto glass topped the auto insurance claim list, with inflated towing/storage bills following just behind it, in comparison to 2009. NICB reports a 116 percent increase in inflated towing/storage bill questionable claims over 2009.

Overall, NICB says questionable claims—covering a variety of types of insurance, such as property, casualty, commercial, workers’ compensation, vehicle and miscellaneous, were up 24 percent over those reported in 2009.

This is the latest in a series of reports from NICB regarding a rise in “questionable” auto glass claims. In December, the group had announced that these were up 511 percent for the first three quarters of 2010, compared with the first three quarters of 2009.

NICB also has issued several warnings to consumers about “windshield bullies,” including a press release that came out earlier this month warning consumers about “insurance scams involving unsolicited service providers,” including those representing auto glass repair and replacement businesses. That release featured a new slogan, “If you didn’t request it—reject it,” and mentioned “unnecessary auto glass repairs, aggressive and exorbitant towing charges, needless home repairs, total roof replacements, sinkhole damage, [and] solicitation of accident victims.”

In December, the group ran several public service announcements warning consumers about “windshield bullies” on various national radio programs throughout the nation. The ads were developed with the assistance of Safelite Solutions.
While NICB suggests that “questionable” auto glass claims are up, Auto One president David Zoldowski suggests that something else might be at play.

“The increase in claims in 2010 was created by the massive advertising campaign by Safelite,” says Zoldowski. “It created a new awareness among consumers. Everybody’s claims on windshields went up.”

The NICB is a not-for-profit organization that is supported by 1,110 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations; its mission is “to prevent, detect and defeat insurance fraud and vehicle theft through information analysis, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness.”

What do you think about the latest NICB report? Do you think auto glass claims in general are up? Please e-mail pstacey@glass.com.

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