NICB Sees Increase in Suspicious Claims Related to Hail Damage

Jun 02, 2010, 09:00 ET from National Insurance Crime Bureau

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DES PLAINES, Ill., June 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the National Insurance Crime Bureau released its latest ForeCAST(SM) report which examines both hail loss claims and hail loss questionable claims (QCs) for the period January 1, 2006 through March 31, 2010.  

During this time frame, the number of hail loss claims filed with insurers increased by 61 percent, from 256,000 in 2006 to over 413,000 in 2009.  At the same time, the number of claims referred to NICB for suspected fraud increased by 136 percent, from 301 in 2006 to 711 in 2009.

During this period, Texas was the top state in both hail loss claims and hail loss QCs with 298,798 claims and 521 QCs. The top 10 states represented 75 percent of the total number of hail losses and 82 percent of the QCs.  

The state with highest ratio of hail loss QCs to claims was Illinois, with 881 hail loss QCs for every 1,000 hail loss claims.  In other words, nearly nine of every 1,000 claims filed for hail loss were deemed suspicious enough to forward to NICB for further investigation..

The full report with maps is available at www.nicb.org.

"These statistics back up what our agents have been experiencing in their field investigations," said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle.  "There are a lot of unscrupulous fly-by-night roofers and repairmen who are what we call 'storm chasers.' They follow the storms and deliberately try to rip off unsuspecting home owners and their insurers by making unnecessary repairs or deliberately inflicting intentional damage to a roof or siding to try to get insurance money.

"The increase in questionable hail loss claims shows that insurers are on the lookout for these scam artists, and home owners need to be leery of companies offering a free roof without first checking with their insurer to ensure there is legitimate damage and the repair company is reputable."

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 information analysis, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness.  The NICB is supported by nearly 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $319 billion in insurance premiums in 2009, or more than 78 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($151 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit www.nicb.org.

SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau



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