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Three South Carolina agencies form anti insurance fraud task force

The South Carolina Attorney General’s Office, the SC Department of Insurance, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) have leagued together to establish a task force that will attack the state’s extensive insurance fraud cases.

South Carolina ranks 17th in the nation for insurance fraud, according to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

“Everybody’s paying for fraud. It’s not a victimless crime,” said Department of Insurance Director Ray Farmer.

Assistant Attorney General LaRone Washington expanded that undertaking SC’s insurance fraud advantages the state’s citizens, as 10% of the cost of insurance dividends are directly related to fraud – with 10% affecting upwards of $1,000 in additional insurance premium payments per year.

“If insurance fraud in South Carolina did not exist, it’s the same as if somebody at Christmas gave you a check for $1,000, and that would be what every household saves,” Washington said.

Washington also told WIS News 10 that most of the FALSE claims filed in the state are related to auto accidents. He also gave some viewpoints, noting that auto accidents – both real and fraudulent – comprised 59% of total claims in SC in 2020. SC also ranks 8th in the US for directed auto accidents.

“Criminals are a lot smarter than people give them credit for,” he said. I think they kind of understand, ‘This is what we’re starting to get away with,’ and they kind of see the trends, just like the rest of us do, they say, “Okay, my cousin, my friend did it and nothing happened to them.”

According to Washington, about 35 other states have similar inter-agency coalitions to withstand insurance fraud. He also said that North Carolina collects millions in compensation from insurance fraud cases per year and that NC has ten times the full-time insurance fraud detectives SC has. SC’s new policy hopes to image what NC has, Washington commented.

“The aptitude of the Department of Insurance will be used by the SLED agents, and then SLED agencies will develop the case, and they’ll give any indictments that are reasonable to be signed by the Attorney General,” explained Farmer.

The task force is funded with approximately $2 million from the General Assembly, and should be completely functioning by September 01, 2021, WIS News 10 reported.

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