South Carolina in 2022 saw a record number of complaints about insurance fraud, and has almost matched the number through the first 10 months of this year.
And some state lawmakers are now looking into the reasons for the increase. More resources are needed to address the disproportionate amount of insurance fraud in the state, DOI’s Fraud Division Director Joshua Underwood, an assistant state attorney general, told a legislative committee last week, according to news reports.
DOI’s annual report for 2022 shows the division received 3,182 fraud complaints that year. And so far this year, the division has seen about 3,000 reports. The department saw a steady rise in fraud complaints from 2012 to 2019, when they topped 3,024, then a decline until the numbers rose again in 2022.
It’s unclear what’s driving the spike in complaints. But Underwood told lawmakers that nearly half of the fraud claims were auto insurance-related, including the staging of accidents by organized crime rings.
The state’s situation may not be as bad as some other states. The DOI annual report notes that South Carolina ranks 19th in the nation, down from 15th, in the number of questionable claims submitted, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Questionable claims from staged auto accidents, however, have kept the state ranked at No. 9 in the nation in that category.
The Fraud Division has five agents dedicated to investigating fraud, which is fewer than neighboring states, WSPA TV news reported. The division added a full-time coordinator and two attorneys in 2022 in an effort to whittle down a backlog of cases, the annual report noted.
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