American Greed: Property, auto insurance fraud is $30B problem

(CNBC) — The Insurance Information Institute says property-casualty and auto insurance fraud is a $30 billion dollar a year problem in the United States.

Monserrate Shirley and Mark leonard, profiled on the next “American Greed,” staged a natural gas explosion to collect the insurance on their Indianapolis home.

The blast killed two people and devastated the neigborhood, all for a $300,000 insurance claim.

Still, investigators say solving that crime and sending Shirley and Leonard to prison was easy compared to fighting the thousands of little frauds that foul the system every day.

“There’s a whole realm of things that people do without even knowing that they’re committing fraud,” says Bob Vetrano of the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Examples are including a dent that was already there as part of an accident claim, or adding a few extra items to a homeowner’s theft claim.

“I think generally people look at it as a victimless crime,” Vetrano says.

But that’s not true.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates one in every 10 property-casualty claims may be a fraud, and we all pay through higher premiums.

Fortunately, authorities are getting better at spotting fraud, and they’re getting help.


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