Omaha, NE (WorkersCompensation.com) – Insurance fraud rings may use public records on workers’ compensation to identify potential recruits for their plans, experts say.
According to the Omaha World Herald, Joseph Wehrle, Jr., chief executive of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), speaking at an insurance fraud conference sponsored by the Nebraska Department of Insurance, said that insurance fraudsters tend to gravitate toward larger cities and rely on recruiting others to seek unneeded medical treatments in order to get payments from insurance companies or government programs.
“In Nebraska, Omaha is really where most of it occurs, with Lincoln right behind it,” Wehrle said. “Any time there’s a large population, that’s where these folks decide they’re going to set up shop.”
The NICB is an organization supported by 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies. It works to discourage insurance fraud and other insurance related crimes, as well as to lobby for state and federal legislation that helps to curtail insurance crimes.
Workers’ compensation fraud accounts for about $7.2 billion a year in insurance fraud, according to the NICB. The organization identified workers’ compensation fraud as “the fastest growing segment of insurance fraud in the nation.”
Fraud groups, Wehrle told the conference attendees, according to the Omaha World Herald, are spreading into the Midwest from places like Florida. They will recruit local residents to make fraudulent claims and in exchange will give them a portion of the payment for medical treatments they don’t need, or that never occurred.
Preventing fraud starts with ensuring companies have safe workplaces, as well as provide education efforts and a zero-tolerance attitude toward fraud and fraudulent claims.
The latest report from NICB shows that California and New York had the highest number of fraudulent workers’ compensation claims. Maine and the District of Columbia placed first in claims that were ranked per 100,000 residents.
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