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Coalition Against Insurance Fraud: New fraud laws start with open dialogue

 

Md. public meeting helped focus on needed reforms

 

Last week I took part in a public meeting the Maryland Insurance Administration held in Baltimore to review anti-frauds effort in the state. Part of the discussion surrounded anti-fraud bills that stalled this year when the 2016 session closed in mid-April.

 

The state insurance commissioner Al Redmer Jr. chaired the meeting. He stayed the entire time. He went beyond simply giving an opening statement, then handing the meeting to the fraud unit’s chief. Redmer’s lengthy presence showed a strong interest in strengthening state’s anti-fraud efforts.

 

I called for the state to redouble its efforts to target drivers who lie where they garage their cars to illicitly lower their auto premiums.

 

Maryland drivers should register and insure their vehicles in the state. Similarly, out-of-state drivers should pay a steep penalty for lying that they drive and garage their vehicles in Maryland to lower their auto premiums.

 

Maryland should be applauded for last week’s effort. The session started dialogue for targeting auto-premium evasion and other insurance crimes. This could spark renewed pushes for anti-fraud legislation next year. The 2017 legislative session opens in January.

 

Other states can learn from sessions like this one. A state’s anti-fraud effort is organic. Fraud fighters and the insurance department must continually review its direction and impact. No state should rest on its laurels, thinking it’s doing a great job. Nor should a state grow reluctant to act, believing the anti-fraud environment can’t be changed so why talk about it.

 

Maybe such a meeting in New York could help break up the logjam in Albany that has stalled so many worthwhile anti-fraud measures in recent years. Or, a state like Oregon which has no insurance fraud law or anti-fraud infrastructure. Imagine what the insurance departments and governors would learn if they held such meetings. Same with Michigan, which needs a fraud bureau.

 

More often than not, legislatures act in a vacuum when they look at anti-fraud laws. Too often they’re pulled in several directions, making it hard to focus on enacting anti-fraud laws.

 

Fraud fighters should assume leadership and start action-driven dialogue. Reach out to the state insurance department, insurance commissioner and state attorney general. Co-sponsor open meetings to review their state’s fraud trends, and where new fraud laws are needed.

 

These joint efforts can go a long way toward enacting needed laws and regulations that make a state’s anti-fraud efforts stronger than ever.

 

About the author: Howard Goldblatt is director of government affairs for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.