Friday, January 6, 2012

Insurance Fraud ... Be very AFra"u"d

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There has been a lot in the news recently about the cost of insurance in Ontario.  Immediately I started seeing articles with many truth's peppered throughout the article filled with media hype and finger pointing.  One thing that is true is that insurance fraud is costing all Ontario insurance customers a lot of money.  Insurance Brokers have been talking about this for a long time and working on solutions.  Hopefully the most recent press will help draw attention to... and solution for the insurance fraud problem.

Below is a recent article by Deputy Senior Vice President of Claims for Intact Insurance, Sharon Bridge, regarding insurance fraud.  Intact is one of the many insurance companies with whom Rhodes & Williams Insurance Brokers can place insurance, if it is the best choice for our clients.

Detecting Insurance Fraud Controls Claims Costs

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Deputy Senior Vice President, Claims Sharon Bridge explains why and how Intact Insurance, the industry and the Ontario government are working together to reduce abuse of the claims system.

With catastrophic weather events on the rise – like April’s severe hailstorms in Thunder Bay and Stratford, wild windstorms in the Ottawa and Niagara regions and Goderich Tornado – the last thing consumers need is added costs due to increased auto insurance fraud. But that’s exactly what’s happening in Ontario.

“Auto insurance fraud has been on the rise, particularly in the GTA,” says Sharon Bridge, who’s been leading Intact’s claims transformation in Ontario over the years. “The previous accident benefits system led to the prevalence of increased abuse committed by various parties involved in the claims process and increased the cost of injury claims costs. These trends adversely affected consumers as premiums rose.

”Abuse and fraud is an issue that affects the cost of protecting people, so we’re tackling it head on. Our proactive approach to fraud management involves investing in people, technology and infrastructure to help manage, detect and prevent fraudulent or improper activities. It’s an approach that we developed with the customer in mind. Putting the customer at the centre of everything we do is what the Intact Insurance brand is all about and these actions help us get customers back on track as quickly as possible by ensuring that they get the right kind of treatment by the right practitioners for full and fast recovery.”

“Tackling fraud is a complex, long¬-term fight, but with the government willingness to take action, it’s one we intend to win. The Ontario Auto Reform, adopted last year, gives us more time to respond to treatment plans and identify inappropriate and abusive requests. What we need in the longer term are greater consequences for the perpetrators of fraud and abuse.”

The industry is working together to fight the problem of fraud and limit the impact it has on premiums.

Intact welcomes the establishment of the Ontario government’s Anti-Fraud Task Force that has made recommendations about detection, investigation and enforcement. “The task force is a step in the right direction given that fraud is omnipresent, puts innocent people at risk and increases insurance premiums,” Bridge continued.