Top Insurance Fraud Issue In South Carolina – According to a National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) analysis, staged vehicle accidents are the most common type of insurance fraud in the state of South Carolina.
According to the NICB, South Carolina ranks 13th in the United States in terms of questionable vehicle-related insurance claims. This is significantly higher than in states with comparable populations such as Alabama, Kentucky, and Louisiana.
“Staged vehicle accidents are one of the most significant fraud issues facing South Carolina,” said Eric De Campos, director of strategy, policy and government affairs for the NICB. “The impact on residents includes both a financial cost and a safety risk. Residents are not only faced with the costs of the damage done to their vehicles, but also risk serious injury and possible death as a result of vehicle accidents deliberately caused by fraudsters.”
According to the NICB, scammers use a variety of tactics to commit staged-accident fraud. For example, they may use fraudulent information such as inflated medical billing following a staged accident to influence insurer settlements during mediation.
Members of fraud rings, such as passengers in a staged accident, may also visit multiple health clinics and receive treatments for ostensible soft-tissue injuries that cannot be verified using medical imaging. According to the NICB, these fraudulent injuries and the resulting medical services are used to inflate the insurance claim.
The NICB conducted a city-by-city analysis of South Carolina’s questionable vehicle-related claims spanning from 2020 to 2022. The analysis found that Columbia was the city with the largest number of claims, accounting for 13% of the total. Columbia was followed by Greenville (5%) and Florence (4%). A county-by county analysis found that Richland County ranked above other counties for the number of claims with nearly 15% of the total. Richland was followed by Charleston County and Greenville County, which each accounted for 7% of the total.
“In order to combat this fraud, it is essential to provide the South Carolina Insurance Fraud Division and state Department of Insurance access to the critical resources needed to more effectively deter fraudsters,” De Campos said. “This can include raising minimum criminal penalties for insurance fraud.”
In August, the NICB reported on a disturbing increase in the frequency of motorcycle thefts. Earlier this year, the organization warned of the dangers of contractor fraud in the wake of natural disasters.