The Louisiana Department of Insurance (LDI), along with the Louisiana Automobile Theft and Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority (LATIFPA), will host their biennial conference on Wednesday, October 17 in Baton Rouge. The 2012 Conference on Insurance Fraud and Vehicle Theft boasts a gathering of local and national insurance industry experts and leaders and will feature presentations on current trends, techniques and technological advances used in the prevention of insurance fraud and vehicle theft.
President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) Joseph H. Wehrle will serve as keynote speaker of the event. Louisiana Commissioner of Insurance Jim Donelon will deliver opening and closing remarks. Insurance Fraud Chief Thomas McCormick with the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice, East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar C. Moore and 19th Judicial District Criminal District Judge Anthony J. Marabella, Jr. will be on hand to provide insight on their roles in the prosecution of insurance fraud.
Featured topics to be discussed during the conference include the impact of social media on insurance fraud, as well as interview and interrogation techniques used during a fraud investigation. The conference will also include sessions on healthcare insurance fraud, catastrophe fraud and vehicle theft and insurance fraud claims.
According to the NICB, more than 10 percent of the insurance claims submitted each year are fraudulent, making insurance fraud the second most costly white-collar crime in America after tax evasion. Healthcare fraud costs U.S. insurers an estimated $80 billion a year and fraudulent property and casualty insurance claims cost an estimated $30 billion. Insurance fraud accounts for as much as 10 percent of insurance premiums and the average household spends $950 a year in additional premiums to cover the cost of insurance fraud in America.
“Louisiana is actively engaged in the prevention of insurance fraud and vehicle theft,” said Commissioner Donelon. “By participating in anti-fraud legislation, public awareness campaigns and supporting the use of bait cars, license plate readers and educational outreaches such as this conference, LDI and LATIFPA continue to diligently work towards reducing fraudulent claims and vehicle theft in Louisiana.”
Since its inception in 2004, LATIFPA has worked to reduce vehicle theft in Louisiana through various initiatives. The number of auto thefts statewide has declined by 37 percent from 15,640 in 2006 to 9,893 in 2010, the latest year for which statistics are available.
The Louisiana Legislature has also ramped up efforts to combat the high cost of insurance fraud. The most recent of those efforts came during the Louisiana 2012 Regular Legislative Session when two acts were passed to address insurance fraud. Act 201 broadened the reporting requirements of insurance fraud from “fraudulent insurance claims” to “fraudulent insurance acts,” which expands the law to cover any suspected fraud that will be, is being or has been committed.
Act 862, titled the “Sledge Jeansonne Louisiana Insurance Fraud Prevention Act,” allows the Attorney General to file a civil action in Baton Rouge District Court in order to recover losses from a “fraudulent insurance act.” The legislation imposes a fine of $10,000 per occurrence, and recovery of actual damages of three times the amount of the fraudulent insurance act. “It is our hope that these stiff monetary penalties will be an added deterrent to insurance fraud,” said Commissioner Donelon.
The conference will take place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, and will begin at 7:30 a.m. with registration and breakfast with exhibitors. The deadline to register for the conference is Monday, October 15, 2012. Those interested in attending should visit the Louisiana Department of Insurance’s website at www.ldi.la.gov to obtain a copy of the registration form and agenda. Additional information can also be received by contacting the department at (225) 219-0594.