DES PLAINES, Ill., May 31, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Oklahoma Insurance Department and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) are working together to make sure victims of the May 20th tornado are not victimized by insurance fraud. NICB representatives and Commissioner John Doak toured the impacted areas in the city of Moore on May 29th and are working with local law enforcement and insurers to keep tabs on potential fraud by contractors and towing firms.
"We've learned from previous disasters in Oklahoma," said Commissioner Doak. "We've sent a very strong message that we take insurance fraud very seriously. We're active with our vehicles coming through the area. Our folks are in uniform and plain clothes, in marked and unmarked vehicles. NICB has helped train local law enforcement on insurance fraud and we're all working together to make it known that we don't tolerate this in our state."
Doak said 23,000 insurance claims had been filed in the first eight days after the tornado. Many of those involved vehicles.
"We have potential for fraudulent impounders coming in and taking these vehicles and the owners and insurance companies don't know where they are," said NICB Special Agent Mark Wenthold. "If the Vehicle Identification Numbers aren't recorded, the cars can end up being crushed and the VINs used on stolen vehicles in the weeks and months ahead."
Towing companies need to have background investigations and be registered with local law enforcement according to Doak and he's satisfied that the laws in place are helping protect Oklahomans.
To see a video on the efforts underway in Oklahoma, click here.
NICB suggests you consider these tips before hiring a contractor:
- Get more than one estimate
- Get everything in writing. Cost, work to be done, time schedules, guarantees, payment schedules and other expectations should be detailed
- Demand references and check them out
- Ask to see the salesperson's driver's license and write down the license number and their vehicle's license plate number
- Never sign a contract with blanks; unacceptable terms can be added later
- Never pay a contractor in full or sign a completion certificate until the work is finished and ensure reconstruction is up to current code
- Make sure you review and understand all documents sent to your insurance carrier
- Never let a contractor pressure you into hiring them
- Never let a contractor interpret the insurance policy language
- Never let a contractor discourage you from contacting your insurance company
Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.
About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote $350 billion in insurance premiums in 2012, or more than 78 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($160 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.
SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau