Property Casualty Insurers Commends Florida Chief Financial Officer Atwater for Shining Light on Auto Fraud

Jan 27, 2011

The following news release was issued by the Property Casualty Insurers Association on January 27, 2011:

PCI Commends Atwater for Shining Light on Auto Fraud

TALLAHASSEE—The Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI) commends Florida’s Chief Financial Officer, Jeff Atwater, for shining a light on the issue of rampant automobile insurance fraud across the state.

As Atwater stated at PCI’s recent State of the Florida Insurance Market Summit, Florida ranks number one in the nation in questionable auto claims, with three Florida cities—Tampa, Miami and Orlando—in the top five nationally (along with New York and Houston). He has vowed to keep a spotlight on this issue, and PolitiFact Florida, a political fact-checking joint venture of the St. Petersburg Times and Miami Herald, has verified that Florida does lead the nation in questionable auto claims.

“We are very pleased with CFO Atwater’s stated determination to expose and curtail the rampant auto-claim fraud that has contributed to Florida having some of the nation’s highest auto insurance rates,” said William Stander, PCI’s assistant vice president and regional manager for Florida. “The state’s high frequency of staged accidents and fraudulent claims drive up costs and ultimately hurt consumers. CFO Atwater deserves praise for his work on this issue, on behalf of Florida drivers.”

According to a recent PCI study, Florida has had the highest number of questionable auto claims resulting from staged/caused accidents in the nation for three years running. With 1,446 in 2009, the last full year for which PCI has data, Florida’s questionable auto claims represented 30.1 percent of the national total; its number far exceeded that of 2nd place New York (765). The end result of this rampant fraud means significantly higher costs for Florida drivers. Based on the latest data available, Florida motorists as a group pay the 2nd highest auto liability insurance premium in the nation. The 2007 average annual liability premium is $719, which is 51 percent higher than the national mean of $475.

“Out of control auto insurance fraud is taking money out of all Floridians’ pockets, and we at PCI support CFO Atwater’s courageous efforts to deal with this problem,” Stander said. “PCI stands ready to help in any way we can.”

PCI is composed of more than 1,000 member companies, representing the broadest cross-section of insurers of any national trade association. PCI members write over $180 billion in annual premium, 37.4 percent of the nation’s property casualty insurance. Member companies write 44 percent of the U.S. automobile insurance market, 30.7 percent of the homeowners market, 35.1 percent of the commercial property and liability market, and 41.7 percent of the private workers compensation market.

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