Tuesday, July 28, 2009


California Insurance Commissioner Poizner announced Tuesday that recently compiled Department of Insurance statistics show that scam artists may be committing more automobile insurance fraud to cash in on insurance money. The Department of Insurance has seen an increase in suspected auto arson and auto theft fraud referrals last year.

The Department of Insurance receives referrals of suspected fraud cases from insurance companies, local law enforcement agencies and directly from consumers. CDI enforcement officers carefully examine every case that is brought to the Department's attention.

CDI saw an alarming 25 percent increase in suspected vehicle arson fraud cases in 2008 as compared with referred cases in 2007. (In 2007, CDI received 344 referrals for suspected automobile arson; in 2008, CDI received 451 referrals for suspected automobile arson.) Overall, the Department received almost 300 additional suspected vehicle theft and vehicle arson cases statewide in 2008 than in 2007. CDI received approximately 200 more suspected vehicle theft fraud case referrals in 2008 than in 2007.

While the total number of suspected fraud case referrals received by CDI for all automobile fraud categories (including inflated damages, vandalism and hit and run,) has remained relatively constant since 2007, suspected vehicle arson and theft referrals have noticeably increased.

In May, Poizner announced that a San Diego husband and wife and two additional individuals were charged with felony insurance fraud for conspiring abandon a 2004 Honda Accord to collect insurance money.

In March, an El Cajon man was arrested and charged with insurance fraud after he allegedly falsely reported that his vehicle was stolen.

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