Spring has barely started yet fraud fighters already have earned a solid slate of new state fraud laws.
Signature wins in Kentucky, New Jersey and New Mexico are on the books, with more fraud laws expected. Fraud fighters are making a clear difference in educating state lawmakers to strengthen insurance fraud laws.
Kentucky was high on our agenda after a federal court struck down the state’s anti-solicitation law. We helped launch push in early 2015 to pass a strong new law that would pass court muster.
A bill was drafted before the legislature opened. That fast start let fraud fighters open the year with a full head of steam. The governor signed the bill Monday.
It’s an insurance crime for medical mills to try and recruit crash victims for useless, inflated and potentially unsafe “medical” treatment within 30 days of the incident. It’s also illegal to encourage crash victims to file phony claims.
Crash rings are moving into Kentucky from Florida to escape ramped-up crackdowns in the Sunshine State. Stiff penalties are important to making fraudsters wish they’d stayed in Florida.
Key to passage was a joint grassroots — should we say bluegrass-roots — letter-writing campaign by the Coalition and Kentucky chapter of IASIU. The effort generated letters from fraud fighters urging their legislators to vote for the bill. That probably was the first time Kentucky legislators had heard from constituents about an anti-fraud bill.
In New Jersey, lawmakers voted to make it an insurance crime for Garden State drivers to lie about where they garage and drive their vehicles to lower their premiums. This success took several years of effort.
We now are pushing for the governor to sign the bill into law. This crime is pervasive in New Jersey. The governor’s signature will send a strong deterrent message to drivers around the state.
Next comes New Mexico, which last week made it a specific crime to using counterfeit airbags in auto repairs. New Mexico became the seventh state to ink such a law.
Spearheading the push was a partnership between the Coalition and Honda America.
Consumer lives are in jeopardy when dishonest body shops install cheap and unsafe knockoff bags. The airbags likely won’t deploy properly in a crash, leaving drivers and passengers gravely exposed to death or serious injury.
Kentucky, New Jersey and New Mexico have gained more tools to take scammers off the streets, and deter many others.
It’s also clear that partnering is better at passing fraud laws than going it alone. The power of partnering shows that together we can place stronger anti-fraud laws onto the books, and boot more scammers off the streets.
About the author: Howard Goldblatt is director of government affairs for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.