Insurance Fraud Case in Oconee Could Create Problems for Others

One man’s possible insurance fraud could lead to higher premiums for you. The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office says a federal civil jury is now considering charges against an Oconee County man.

Insurance companies say fraud cases like this are pushing up rates for everyone. Grady Newsource reporter Kendall Trammell shows us how this kind of fraud works. Oconee fraud investigator Dave Stauffacher explains how this case can affect other people’s insurance premiums.

Insurance companies make all of their customers pay for other people’s fraudulent insurance claims because they still have to make their money. The National Insurance Crime Bureau says insurance fraud costs Americans billions of dollars each year. A group that analyzes the data says insurers estimate there is some type of fraud in 15 percent of all claims.

An investigator from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office told a jury about a man in their county who is part of that 15 percent. When a federal civil jury is reviewing evidence, information like the man’s name, is not made public. Whether or not the jury charges him, there’s money the insurance company is still missing.

“Whenever you have insurance fraud, it draws up insurance prices,” said Dave Stauffacher, an Oconee County fraud investigator.

Steve Denman’s State Farm office says about 12 to 18 percent of insurance premiums are built in to cover the costs of insurance fraud. And there are more fees that have to be paid even after a case.

“Even if the insurance company wins, they still have to pay legal counsel which is incredibly expensive, Stauffacher said. “This case has been going on for five years, so you can imagine how much time has been bailed out by the law firm just trying to contest the charges.”

Cases like these don’t come up often. But when they do, insurance fraud is something other insurance holders have to take responsibility for. The best a person can do is be honest with his or her insurance claims.