There are subtle signs on the horizon that the fraud-fighting community may have a tougher time over the next few years in getting laws passed and encouraging consumers to have sympathy for our mission. We have seen some bills scuttled in states where newly empowered Democrats don’t seem to eager to do insurers any favors. That shouldn’t surprise anyone since Democrats gained 232 seats in state legislatures and took control of a dozen chambers. Insurers have been on the defensive in fighting off bad-faith bills in a half-dozen states, and in least one state, they have spent $1 million on lobbying to kill a bill.
Add to this the talk on Capitol Hill about ending the industry’s antitrust exemption, racor over Katrina claims and record profit levels, and it soon becomes apparent that insurers could easily become more preoccupied with defending their flanks than combating fraud.
While fraud is obviously larger than the insurance industry, combating it often is seen as primarily helping insurers.
Other signs we are watching include the apparent falloff of anti-fraud efforts on the federal level with the FBI and U.S. attorneys and the nasty mood Americans seem to be stuck in. An incredible 71 percent recently surveyed say the country is headed in the wrong direction. There’s growing distrust of government and business, and that’s just not a conducive environment to combat a crime many Americans already tolerate.
New strategies may be in order for the next few years. An article exploring this issue is published in the current Fraud Focus newsletter.