Essays

"How Does Insurance Fraud Hurt South Carolina Citizens?"

Columbia, S.C., April 28, 2004 -- Students from across the state were honored here this week for authoring winning essays on how insurance fraud hurts South Carolinians. The contest was sponsored by several state agencies and the S.C. Fraud Investigators Association. Winning essays are re-published below.

Winning Essays

The Hurt Spreads -- Alex Rao, R.C. Edwards Middle School
Insurance Fraud: A Hole in the Pocket
-- Ashley Renee Morgan, R.C. Edwards Middle School
A Scandalous Crime
-- Jeuel Davis, RC Edwards Middle School
Insurance Fraud in South Carolina
-- Corey Allen, RC Edwards Middle School
The Killer Crime
-- Talene Amirkhanian, RC Edwards Middle School
Insurance Fraud in South Carolina
-- Megan Jones, RC Edwards Middle School
Insurance Fraud
-- Kirsten Kaiser, RC Edwards Middle School
Insurance Fraud Hurts Everyone
-- Kimberly Stiltz, Hunter-Kinard Tyler School
Insurance Fraud
-- Angela Moss, York Junior High School
Insurance Fraud in the Lives of South Carolina's Citizens
-- Mitchell Plyler, York Junior High School
How Does Insurance Fraud Hurt SC Citizens?
-- Meaghan Champion, York Junior High School
Insurance Fraud
-- Aubrie Phillips, York Junior High School
Insurance Fraud Has Got To Stop
-- Olivia Carpenter, York Junior High School
The Horrors of Insurance Fraud
-- Bradneshia Coleman, Hunter Kinard Tyler School
How Does Insurance Fraud Hurt South Carolina Citizens?
-- Megan Padgett, Branchville High School
How Does Insurance Fraud Hurt S.C. Citizens?
-- Natasha Summers, Branchville High School
Insurance Fraud: Crimes & Cover-ups
-- Shannon Smoak, Branchville High School
"Dial 'F' for Fraud"
-- Kimberly Ott, Branchville High School
South Carolina — Fraud Free
-- Jessica Harvey, York Junior High School


The Hurt Spreads
By Alex Rao
R.C. Edwards Middle School

Insurance Fraud is a crime that is commonly attempted. Many people think that insurance fraud is an easy way to get money but it's not. You end up paying back the money and serving probation. People make excuses for insurance fraud such as "I needed the money." Even though that may be true it's still illegal to commit insurance fraud.

I committed insurance fraud once and got caught. I know you were expecting me to tell other people's stories, but I'm going to tell you mine too.

I was 20, in my junior year of college. I was in serious debt with the apartment I rented, the credit card bill and the car I was paying off. I needed some quick cash. I decided to pretend my car was stolen so I could collect the insurance money from the car insurance company. I went to a club one night and had my friend "steal" my car.

I called the insurance company to report the theft. They sent me my money. I was doing just fine, paying off the bill on my old car and having enough money to buy a new one when I realized I needed insurance for my new civic.

When I was looking for a good place to buy insurance, I realized the cost of insurance had gone up a lot. I wondered what was going on for a while when suddenly it hit me, since I made the insurance company pay for my car, they raised costs to get the money back.

"Aww, man, now I've got to pay like twice as much for insurance!"

The next morning the cops were at my door.

"Sir, we would like to know why you had your friend steal your car," said the officer.

"I don't know what you're talking about."

"Don't play dumb. We found your friend driving down the highway in the stolen car. He told us everything. Now don't make this hard."

I was sentenced to 6 months of probation.

It was a lesson I had to learn the hard way. I, like many others, was suffering from my foolish idea. I was suffering probation. They were suffering premiums increasing. I know what I did was wrong and I wont' do it again.

Now that I know what insurance fraud can do to people, I feel like a real jerk. I might even thing about working to stop insurance fraud.

(P.S. None of the part about me committing insurance fraud is true)

Return to essay titles.




Insurance Fraud: A Hole in the Pocket
By Ashley Renee Morgan
R.C. Edwards Middle School

Insurance Fraud can leave many South Carolina citizens in deep debt. When somebody commits an insurance fraud, the people who already have insurance have to pay for the money lost by the insurance company. Most of the people who have ever committed an insurance fraud don't even notice that they are cheating other people out of their money, but in all reality, they are.

In my opinion, anyone who is low enough to commit an insurance fraud is just plain greedy. In one case, believe it or not, a mother took her own daughter's insurance money. The mother spent the money while her child was in need of it! What kind of mother would do that? Not a loving one, that's for sure.

There are many ways that you can commit an insurance fraud. From what I've learned, it isn't' that hard to get by with it either: burning your house down to get house insurance money, claiming you are disabled and getting disability income, reporting that your expensive ring was stolen and getting the money to replace it. See what extremes people will go to , just to get some free money? I have a feeling money will never be that important to me.

To understand insurance fraud, you may want to know what the definitions of insurance and fraud are. Insurance means insuring people , or their property . Meaning it keeps people insured, knowing that if they are injured or lose their property, they will receive the money to pay for everything. The term 'fraud' means misrepresentation intended to deceive. When you put the tow together, you are misrepresenting yourself and using the insurance company's money to work your way through it.

As you should now be able to see, the people who are committing insurance fraud are greatly hurting South Carolina citizens. Don't' let one of those people be you if insurance fraud goes to far, other innocent insurance payers may go into debt. All for a stranger's wrong doings. Something most definitely needs to be done about insurance fraud, or we may all end up in debt.

Return to essay titles.


A Scandalous Crime
By Jeuel Davis
RC Edwards Middle School

"Oh my gosh," Michelle shouted. "Look at this insurance bill!"

"Jeff, we are paying and extra one thousand dollars this year because people in our state are committing insurance fraud," she said.

"Michelle, we don't' have the money to be paying an extra one thousand dollars this year," Jeff exclaimed.

"Well, we are just going to have to budget more on groceries, clothes and other needs," Michelle explained. "In addition, you know there will be no vacations," she said.

"I'll just have to work more hours at the office." Jeff sighed. "You might even have to get a job yourself, Michelle," Jeff said.

"I guess so," Michelle sighed. "We will figure it out."

Do you want this to happen to you? Well read this paper to learn about insurance fraud so this won't happen to you.

First, as you can see, when someone commits insurance fraud it affects more than just that person. It affects other citizens too. Insurance fraud first affects people's money. In the story, that couple and their family will have to budget more because of that extra one thousand dollars. That is a lot of money! Many citizens in South Carolina are probably in debt. So making them pay more for insurance is not helping them at all. It also forces people to buy less consumer goods. Therefore their families will also suffer from insurance fraud. Does that make you angry? Well, it makes me angry too. So let us do something to stop it!

Next, it will probably also affect South Carolina citizen's jobs. Grocery stores will be influenced because if families have to buy less consumer good which includes food and clothing and appliances, then they won't be bringing in as much money. That means people might lose their jobs so that the stores and companies can save money. Also, the citizen's salaries could be affected so once again the stores and companies can save money. Second, it could affect tourism for South Carolina. Now, families will have to save their money for insurance instead of vacations because they might not have extra money to spend on trips. Therefore, tourism profits will probably go down because people are saving money. Once again, citizens might lose their jobs and get a lower salary because the beaches and major cities will probably need it. Another reason why South Carolina wants insurance fraud stopped.

"Hey Jeff look what I found on the internet," Michelle exclaimed. "Here is a hotline we can call if we hear bout insurance fraud."

"For now though, I figure that if you get a full time job, and I work overtime in the office, then we should be able to pay the extra money."

"The kids will just have to watch over each other while I'm gone," Michelle said.

"I can't believe how much one person can affect so many other people!" Jess said exasperated.

In conclusion, insurance fraud is a scandalous and an unethical crime. It does affect South Carolina citizens terribly. It hurts their profits, money and jobs. Hopefully my essay has changed someone's perspective in a way that they will change someone else's.

Return to essay titles.




Insurance Fraud in South Carolina
By Corey Allen
RC Edwards Middle School

Insurance fraud not only affects South Carolina citizens but many people nationwide. For example, property and casualty fraud cost insurers $27 billion in 2001 and cost the average household $200 to $300 on insurance premiums. Also, the national Insurance Crime Bureau says that insurance fraud raises taxes and inflates prices on consumer goods. Finally, it is hard to track down the violators.

Insurance fraud does horrible things to the violator. Most of the time, they are put on probation. Secondly, they must pay a fine and pay back all the money they stole from insurer. The person then loses all their pride and self-respect. They could hurt their community if they had not already done so during the fraud. Lastly, they probably will not properly respected in their community again. As you can see, the communities in South Carolina are deeply affected by insurance fraud.

Next, I will tell you about some outrageous examples of insurance fraud in South Carolina 2002. A lake Murray woman was convicted of Making a False Statement while working as a fishing guide. In her papers she had claimed that she was not working and was unable to work. Since she had been illegally receiving disability income, government investigators paid her to take them on a two-day fishing trip. While on her trip, they videotaped her filleting fish, moving gas tanks, bending over to hook lines, and using fishing net. Later she was sentenced to probation and restitution. Second, a Richland county woman was convicting of Presenting A False Claim for Payment. She had been in a car accident with her daughter. The daughter had occurred hospital bills as a minor, but the woman took money from the State Farm Insurance, cashed the money, and never did pay the hospital. She was ordered to pay back her daughter and received a fine. Third, a Columbia boy claimed that his truck had been stolen from a local club. The boy said that he had been in the club all night. After an investigation by the Columbia Police Department, his truck was found burned. His cell phone had been used from the site of the fire just before the call to the fire department . He was convicted of insurance fraud and ordered to pay a fine and restitution. Many other bizarre cases have occurred in the past five years in South Carolina

Fourth, I will tell you about fraud in South Carolina. Every year in South Carolina, hundreds of arson cases are reported to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. Also, nearly one thousand cases of insurance fraud are reported to the South Carolina Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Division. Also, South Carolina Arson and Insurance Fraud investigators work daily to stop fraud.

Last, I will tell you about fraud in general. There are seven common types of insurance fraud. They are: underreporting miles driven on an auto policy, failing to report an accurate medical history, faking injuries to avoid work, falsifying and/or exaggerating auto accident injuries, staging car accidents, drawing benefits because of fake injures, and exaggerating stolen items. Insurance fraud deeply hurts our state!

Return to essay titles.



The Killer Crime
By Talene Amirkhanian
RC Edwards Middle School

I, Kathy Rae Caylor, have done some wrongs in South Carolina. For you who don't know me, I have committed insurance fraud. This year alone, including my cases, six hundred and seven insurance fraud cases have been reported. Twenty-nine cases resulted in civil memoranda of understanding and thirty-eight resulted in guilty pleas. In one year, other criminals and I have helped to reach the total amount of two million dollars because of reported frauds.

For those South Carolina citizens that don't understand my profession, listen up! Insurance fraud is when you say that you're disabled, dead, etc…when everything is fine, or you committed the crime to get money from the insurance companies. For example, I burned my car and told the insurance companies that someone stole my car. The insurance companies paid me the money. Later on, I got arrested for insurance fraud. When you commit insurance fraud, you cheat insurance companies out of a lot of money. So far, I have not gotten away with one crime! I have either been sent to jail or had to serve three weeks on probation. Too bad in South Carolina it is considered a felony. Police forces seem to be more alert these days!

I have hurt many South Carolina citizens. An average family pays about one thousand dollars a year because of the crimes that I have committed. Insurance fraud cheats many customers out of their money. They end up paying for the bad things that I have done. Every time I decide to commit insurance fraud, it takes state and insurance industry out of millions of dollars. This could be really hard on South Carolina Citizens. For example, if I told the insurance companies that my husband died, and they found out that he didn't. I'd be in big trouble. I would have to go to court and face insurance companies. The companies have to use money to hire lawyers, present a case, and so on. That would take money away from South Carolina citizens and insurance companies. Boy, insurance fraud is a costly crime.

Lucky for South Carolina citizens, many people are trying to put an end to what I do! South Carolina officials declared September 22-26 Insurance Fraud Awareness week. (Good thin I commit my crimes in the winder) They're also setting up hotlines to report cases to the Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Division. Unfortunately for me, the hotline is open seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. The tip line (1.888.95.FRAUD) is a major part of public awareness. Wow, so much is being done to put an end to my profession.

Insurance Fraud hurts almost every South Carolina citizen. When someone commits insurance fraud it takes money away from innocent families and insurance companies. The only bad thing about being a criminal is the consequences. That's all I have to say about my job! Warn your friends!

Insurance fraud hurts everyone.

Return to essay titles.





Insurance Fraud in South Carolina
By Megan Jones
RC Edwards Middle School

To Whom It May Concern:

My name is Janie Woods, and I am a resident in the State of South Carolina. For the past few years, our state has had problems with insurance fraud. As an upstanding citizen, I would like to voice my opinions about the issues it has caused. Protecting my rights is something that I feel very strongly about. This is the very reason why I am writing this extensive letter, which I would like you to take into consideration.

To begin with, I would like to tell you what my idea of insurance fraud is. In my eyes, insurance fraud is misrepresenting a fact or facts in order to get extra money from your insurance company. I believe that some of the leading types of insurance fraud are staged auto accidents, fake accident claims, phony workplace injuries, and arson. An act such as this is generally more prevalent in a recession than after a major catastrophe. Insurance fraud is now considered a felony in most of the states in our country. What I am trying to say, is that having an understanding of what insurance fraud is, helps a person understand how it affects them.

Secondly, insurance fraud hurts the citizens of South Carolina in many ways. For one thing, it costs an average family almost $1000 a year. This money is obtained by raising the cost of certain items that are necessary for families. The extra money that is made goes to the crime of insurance fraud. That money could be used for other things such as building schools, roads, hospitals and airports. It could also be used to improve the society by setting up fun activities for the families to get involved in. insurance fraud can also bring on crimes such as murders. I personally feel that when someone in a town commits insurance fraud, it gives the rest of the town a bad name. All in all, insurance fraud has definitely hurt my family and all of the other citizens of South Carolina.

Third, knowing examples of insurance fraud can help one understand the intensity of this crime. A potential example could be that a father, the money maker in the family, says he has broken his leg and that his wife is not capable of working. A later investigation could find out that the man had been health all along and that his wife taught school. He would then have to pay back all of the money he was given. Another example could be that someone sets their car on fire to later say that it has spontaneously combusted. Although this may seem impossible, remains of his car were found, and evidence proved that he had, in fact, set it on fire. The man would then be sentenced to probation and have to pay the money back to his insurance company.

Altogether, insurance fraud badly hurts the citizens of South Carolina. The extra expenses and the bad names it gives to the town are just a few negative results of this crime. I hope that this informative letter I am sending to you has let you know how the citizens of this state feel. I am not asking that you adopt my opinions, but that you just think about them. Thank you again for your time and effort that was put into helping stop insurance fraud.

Sincerely,

Janie Woods
South Carolina Citizen

Return to essay titles.




Insurance Fraud
By Kirsten Kaiser
RC Edwards Middle School

Insurance fraud is a problem affecting many people in South Carolina. It costs the average family about one thousand dollars per year. It also raises the prices of goods and services.

One very common type of insurance fraud is faking injury to receive disability income or faking accidents to your car. Another type is claiming that you or your husband died to get money. Saying that your husband died could get you up to four hundred thousand dollars! What surprises me most is that one in three Americans think insurance fraud is all right.

I have a couple of example of insurance fraud for you. One is a lady that collected disability income when she was perfectly fine. She lives in lake Murray and works as a fishing guide. She reported that she was not working and not capable of working. Investigators went fishing for two days and saw her filleting fish, moving gas tanks, bending over to hook lines, and using a fishing net. She was convicted of Making a False Statement or Misrepresentation.

Another example is a woman in Anderson county who reported that her husband died. She almost got four hundred thousand dollars! She got arrested, but did it again! When she got out of jail she reported her own death to the insurance company. She got no money and was arrested again.

Insurance fraud is very bad and should not be tolerated in South Carolina.

Return to essay titles.




Insurance Fraud Hurts Everyone
By Kimberly Stiltz
Hunter-Kinard Tyler School

It is shocking to realize that insurance fraud hurts everyone, not just the insurance companies. False claims cost Americans billions of dollars every year. The total of Auto, Home, businesses and Heath fraud was $96 billion in 1999. Fraud costs Americans an averate of $1,000 extra in insurance premiums every year. It is estimated that at least 10 percent of all insurance claims are fraudulent or highly inflated.

People devise all kinds of strange plans to get money from their insurance companies. Some of the most frequent fraudulent claims are staged automobile accidents. People claim whiplash, hurt backs, legs, and arms, when they have not really suffered an injury at all. I hear about a woman who claimed to have been hit by cars ten times through the years. She would step in front of a slow moving car at an intersection, scream and fall down before the car even touched her.

People claim to have been injured at work, or in a car wreck, and deliberately injure themselves so they can collect money. Many times cars are reported stolen, and they are later found burned or at the bottom of a lake somewhere. One of the strangest claims was made by a a man who said that his tractor had been stolen. Investigators discovered that he had dug a deep hole and buried the tractor! It was reported that a number of people filed false claims that their husbands or wives had been killed in the World Trade Center on 9-11 when the terrorists destroyed the twin towers.

When robberies occur, people often fraudulently claim to have lost very expensive jewelry and other objects of great value. People also set fire to their own homes to obtain insurance money. This often happens when a home has been hard to sell, or when people are having financial difficulties.

We can help to reduce false claims by calling the South Carolina Insurance Fraud hotline at 1.888.95.FRAUD, if we see or hear anything suspicious. One of the most important things we can do is make a personal decision to never make a fraudulent claim ourselves.

Return to essay titles.


Insurance Fraud
by Angela Moss
York Junior High School

Insurance fraud cost the average American family $1,000 per year. In South Carolina alone, there were 914 insurance fraud cases in 2002. That year alone cost South Carolina $47 million dollars.

There are many ways to commit insurance fraud. People fake car accidents, job injuries, and arson. Ten percent of auto, home, and business insurance claims are either frauds or they are inflated. The most common insurance fraud cases are fake car accidents, fake accident claims, fake job injuries, and arson.

Americans are becoming less tolerant of insurance fraud. Auto insurance is definitely one of the most common frauds. Seventy-eight percent of Americans are worried about auto insurance fraud in their state because it leads to higher rates.

The penalties of committing insurance fraud are fines up to jail time. In some cases, insurance fraud is considered a felony.

Health insurance is another common fraud. The biggest fraud in the health insurance is medicare and medicade.

In 2002, the insurance fraud cost us $31 billion dollars. I think that people shouldn't try to get more money by faking accidents and lying. American should be more aware of this problem because it is costing taxpayers more money because of dishonest people. It's not fair to hard-working people to lay liars money.

Some people will get people to hurt them on purpose to fake an injury or they will wreck their car on purpose. In one case, this man got his friend to hit him with a board and he wrecked his motorcycle. Some people hide their cars and say that they were stolen. If people were honest, maybe our insurance rates would not be so high. If fraud was a business, it would be one of the top businesses in the world.

Auto theft is probably one of the biggest frauds, but the most unbelievable case are when this person filed a claim saying his car was stolen, eventually they found the car burned. When somebody said that the car was set on fire by using kerosene, one of the guys said that they used gasoline, not kerosene. One woman claimed that her husband died, until they found out that he was still alive. Later on they found out she claimed that she had died and had collected $400,000. On Christmas, one man set his family's home on fire. What will people do for money? I think it is sad that some people will do just about anything to get money.

People in South Carolina need to be honest and report any insurance fraud. South Carolina's mandatory reporting act states, "… any person, insurer, authorized agency having reason to believe that another had made false statements or misrepresentation or has knowledge of a suspected false statement or misrepresentation shall, for purpose of reporting and investigation, notify South Carolina's Attorney General's Insurance fraud hotline at 1-888-95-FRAUD (toll free in SC)."

I think that South Carolina needs to be more honest. Insurance fraud needs to be reported more often.

Return to essay titles.


Insurance Fraud in the Lives of South Carolina's Citizens
by Mitchell Plyler
York Junior High School

Insurance fraud is a purposeful deception aimed against or for an insurance company with the goal of making a profit. Do people truly do this? Yes. Do they get away with it? Yes. Does it adversely affect the citizens of South Carolina? Yes.

Insurance fraud is a highly common way to make some quick cash. Three main categories involving fraud are auto, home, and business insurance. Many fraudulent claims in these categories include staged accidents, "workplace" injuries, and arson. A staged accident is an accident that has been planned by a person or group of persons to be able to collect on. An example could be an automotive accident that is planned to collect on car insurance and "injury". There are two types of common "workplace" injuries involved in insurance fraud. One type involves an injury outside of a job that is claimed to be received in the workplace. This allows the person making the claim to get free medical and workman's compensation, which pays them even though they are not working. Arson, pertaining to insurance frauds is burning an item, house or car, etc., for the reason of collecting insurance money. I heard a story of a man who owned a lumber company. This company had recently laid off workers, and those laid off were enraged. They acted against their employer and burned down his lumber yard. The owner of the lumber yard was able to collect insurance for everything his company owned. The fraud in this story is that about half of the company's possessions were in perfect condition, thus the owner committed a fraudulent act.

Now you may ask: How does this affect South Carolina's citizens? An average of one thousand dollars per household per year in insurance premiums. That's how it affects the average South Carolina citizen! We, the citizens, have to pay for what these fraudulent crooks have taken. There were nine hundred fourteen cases of insurance fraud reported in 2002. That's nine hundred reported cases that the citizens of South Carolina are having to pay for. That's not to mention frauds that were never caught or noticeable.

So what is being done to stop insurance fraud? The insurance companies themselves have taken action. They have formed Special Investigation Units (SIU's) that check into claims that reek of insurance fraud, those claims that have an easily noticeable flow.

The SIU's can catch the big fish, but the little fish swim right through the net. If someone's jewelry is stolen out of their house and it's worth three hundred dollars, that person could easily claim four or five hundred dollars worth if insurance money. Many of these fairly small frauds are un-noticed or unchecked, because they seem plausible. This allows the opportunist to get away with some easy money.

Since these small fish slip through the net of the SIU, the South Carolina citizens have to pay for the criminals who take advantage of simple insurance fraud. These small robberies are minor, but this adds up to millions of extra dollars taken and paid by the state and its citizens. What can the citizens of South Carolina do to rid the state of insurance fraud? That is decided by the citizens and their choices.

Return to essay titles.


How Does Insurance Fraud Hurt SC Citizens?
by Meaghan Champion
York Junior High School

Insurance fraud is a crime that is occurring more often each year. As a matter of fact, six-hundred seven cases of insurance fraud have been reported in SC this year, with thirty eight guilty please.

Some types of insurance fraud include catastrophe, workers compensation, e-commerce, auto and health, but there are many others. It can range from lying on an insurance application to staging accidents. Also, about 40% of Americans think it is okay to pad an insurance claim, and one in three Americans say it is all right to exaggerate insurance claims under certain circumstances.

It sometimes seems difficult to understand how insurance fraud hurts South Carolina citizens, but there are definite affects to these crimes. The most obvious and most significant of these effe3cts are the great losses of money in SC.

First, fraud cost up to eighty-five billion dollars in 1999. In 2001, it cost twenty-seven billion dollars in property and casualty fraud alone. And where does the money come from? It comes from us. South Carolina citizens. Most people think fraud is a victimless crime, but you are the victim. As a result of insurance fraud, Americans pay an extra one thousand thirty dollars per year in insurance premiums. For this reason, 78% of Americans are becoming concerned about the effects of insurance fraud on auto insurance.

Secondly, staging fake accidents and faking disabilities is causing major problems in SC. These very detailed crimes cost great amounts of money to stage, as well as for insurance companies to cover. All of this money is being wasted on people whose main purpose is to take advantage of hardworking South Carolina citizens in order to earn money fast. As a matter of fact, some fraud cases are so heinous that their coordinators fake their own death or the death of a loved one to earn money very quickly.

Last, the rise of insurance premiums due to insurance fraud makes it difficult for low-income families to have insurance coverage. Some families in South Carolina have a hard time paying these high premiums, so there are many low-income families without insurance, mainly health insurance.

All of these problems are because of criminals who want to earn easy money, including a man who stages a motorcycle accident by having a friend hit him with a board to fake injuries, and the men who claim that their car "spontaneously" burst into flames in order to collect insurance money.

Although only thirty eight out of these six-hundred seven fraud cases pleas guilty, it is imperative to crack down on the criminals taking advantage of our insurance system. A problem that must first be addressed to snub the criminals is that civil and criminal penalties for insurance fraud have decreased in the last decade. Insurance fraud offenders should be more harshly punished to show that the crimes they are committing are serious offenses because they affect a vast number of people.

As Phil Porter, S.C. Consumer Advocate and member of the Coalition Against Insurance fraud says, "The message is a simple, yet powerful one: we all pay for insurance fraud, it's time to fight back."

Return to essay titles.


Insurance Fraud
By Aubrie Phillips
York Junior High School

Insurance fraud can be simple as lying on an insurance application or as serious as "staging" accidents. So how does insurance fraud hurt South Carolina citizens? Insurance fraud is a major problem in South Carolina and it hurts the citizens by the loss of money or total amount of money the citizens pay for insurance or taxes.

Insurance fraud is a deliberate deception perpetrated against or by an insurance company or agent for the purpose of financial gain. Some of South Carolina's top ten most outrageous cases of insurance fraud are examples of how insurance fraud hurts its citizens.

For example, a York County man admitted to having a friend hit him with a board to fake injuries from a stages motorcycle accident. The man later had claimed to the insurance company that a woman backing out of a parking lot hit him. The insurance company investigated the "accident" and found that the mans motorcycle was wrecked before the false claim was made. Because of this, he received a one year jail sentence.

Other problems include filing an insurance claim for their own car. People would deliberately burn their own car just to receive money from insurance.

Also it's a fact that a woman in Anderson County had filed a death claim producing an obituary, certificate of death and funeral home mane upon her so called "dead husband." When an investigation accurated, it was discovered that the husband is alive and well I might add. The woman also claimed that SHE HERSELF is DEAD and was almost paid over $400,000.

A man was also said to have burnt his own family home down, during Christmas Day. This man as admitted setting 2 fires at his family home and making 2 false insurance claims.

All of these examples are reasons why insurance fraud hurts South Carolina citizens. The citizens have to pay the money that was taken from the insurance company. Truthfully, if people would live honestly and quit doing this stuff our insurance would be cut in half, which would help South Carolina citizens. The rising price of insurance is mainly affected in auto and health insurance.

Most states have passed laws which specifically define the crime of insurance fraud, and which raise insurance fraud from the level of a misdemeanor to a felony. Insurance fraud as a crime hurts South Carolina's citizens because they pay for other people's problems and bad choices. Although the citizens have no choice but to pay the insurance company, the crime for insurance fraud is a major problem in South Carolina and students at a young age need to be aware of its negative affects.

Return to essay titles.


Insurance Fraud Has Got To Stop
by Olivia Carpenter
York Junior High School

In this essay you will learn how insurance fraud hurts South Carolina's citizens. Insurance frau is a major concern in the State of South Carolina. There are many types of insurance fraud people have came up with. Such as staged auto accidents, fake accident claims, phony workplace injuries, and arson. In the year of 2003, six-hundred and seven cases of insurance fraud were reported in South Carolina.

Insurance fraud affects many South Carolinians. An average American household pays an extra one-thousand dollars a year due to insurance fraud. In 1999, auto, home, and business insurance fraud costs Americans twenty-four billion dollars. In the year 2001, property casualty insurance fraud costs insurers twenty-seven billion dollars. Ten percent of auto, home, and business insurance claims are fraudulent.

In this paragraph, you will view a few examples of insurance fraud. There are many other cases, but these are just a small quantity of them. Once there was a Cherokee County man who reported his jeep stolen from his yard. The Jeep was found burned. Five people were charged with insurance fraud. During court, the acquaintance mentioned the Jeep was set on fire with kerosene. One of the defendants shouted out, "I used gasoline, not kerosene!" All five of the people admitted to setting the Jeep on fire, along with two other vehicles. Also, in York County a man admitted to having his friend hit him with a board to fake injuries from a motorcycle accident. The man later claimed to the insurance company that a lady hit him backing out of a parking lot. Later in the investigation, the insurance company found out that his motorcycle was wrecked before the claim was made. He received a year in jail for this false claim.

As you see from the examples above, insurance fraud is serious business. In some cases of insurance fraud you can receive probation or even jail time. Insurance fraud causes many citizens of South Carolina to suffer. Some people can hardly survive paying just their car payments, water bill, electricity bill, etc. I don't think it is fair for the South Carolinians to have to pay larger amounts on their insurance for other peoples' mistakes. It makes no sense to me! In my opinion, I think the people who commit insurance fraud should be put in jail for quite a long sentence. Every time insurance fraud occurs, it causes every South Carolinians' insurance rate to rise higher. There has already been a huge amount of people to commit insurance fraud, so South Carolinians' insurance rate is already quite high.

In conclusion, there needs to be a stop to all of this insurance fraud. It won't stop unless we get strict on the consequences of committing this terrible crime. I hope that son or in the future, that the government will put an end to insurance fraud.

I really enjoyed writing this essay! I was glad to finally be able to express my opinion on insurance fraud. I hop you enjoyed reading this essay as much as I did writing it. Thanks for allowing me to express my opinion by this insurance fraud essay contest.

Return to essay titles.


The Horrors of Insurance Fraud
By Bradneshia Coleman
Hunter Kinard Tyler School

Insurance fraud is a criminal act in which a person lies to the insurance company about property to obtain money. There is a great consequence when a person commits insurance fraud. People can serve many years in prison for insurance fraud. When a person receives money from an insurance company by insurance fraud, the citizens have to pay more money to the insurance company. This criminal act must be stopped. If not, the country will go down economically.

There have been many cases of insurance fraud. In one case a man falsified his wife's death. He told policy that she lost her life in the World Trade Center. He received over $250,000. The police found them at their home in Georgia. The man and his wife are serving 10 years in prison because she knew about him falsifying her death.

Another case of insurance fraud was committed when a man told the insurance company that his tractor was stolen. One of his neighbors told policy that there was something sticking out of his field. The policy dug up the object and found that it was the man's tractor. Then the man was arrested and had to serve a log of time in prison.

As you can see, insurance fraud can get people in a whole lot of trouble. That is why citizens must take action to prevent it. Ways they can do this are: calling the insurance fraud hotline at 1-888-95-FRAUD if they have witnessed it, talk people out of committing fraud if they tell them they are going to commit it, and talk to their community about it. These simple things could cause a big decrease in insurance fraud and maybe even stop it.

In conclusion, insurance fraud is illegal and harmful to the economy. People should take as much action as they possibly can to put an end to it. Many people have been put in jail for insurance fraud and that is not good. Everyone needs to think seriously about insurance fraud and try their very best to prevent it.

Return to essay titles.


How Does Insurance Fraud Hurt South Carolina Citizens?
by Megan Padgett
Branchville High School

"Auto, home, and business insurance fraud costs Americans more than %85 billion a year. Fraud could be as simple as misrepresenting facts on an insurance application or padding or inflating actual claims or as serious as submitting claims for injuries or damage that never occurred and staging accidents. At least 10% of all auto, home, and business insurance claims are either fraudulent or highly inflated."

Studies show that one in three Americans believe it is "all right" to pad claims to make up for premiums paid in previous years when they had no claims., Most people think that fraud is a victimless crime, but you are the victim.

Insurance fraud directly affects the amount you pay for health, auto, & homeowner's insurance and increases the prices you pay for goods and services. Under South Carolina law, you MUST report insurance fraud if you have reason to believe someone has committed this crime. If insurance fraud were a business it would be a Fortune 500 company.

Some ways people could participate in insurance fraud is: under-reporting on their auto insurance policy application the number of miles they drive, failing to report accurate medical history when they are applying for health insurance, faking or exaggerating injuries to avoid work and to draw workers compensation payout, falsifying or overstating injuries in an auto accident to achieve a large settlement or award, staging automobile accidents which result in claims for non-existent injuries, fabricating relationships to draw life insurance benefits, and exaggerating the amount and value of items stolen from a home and business. It seems that even the most honest person may have done one of these on a small scale or may know someone who has done one of these. The problem is, it is wrong and costs everyone.

South Carolina has become one of the most active states in the nation when it comes to prosecuting insurance fraud. The S.C. Attorney General's office said "914 cases of insurance fraud were reported in the state last year, resulting in the collection of nearly $168,000 in court-ordered fines & restitution." According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, South Carolina was the second leading state in 2002 in the prosecution of insurance fraud cases & the sixth leading state in the conviction of fraud suspects."

In 2002, the state spent an average of $3,000 on each of its 98 insurance frauds. "South Carolina had a 24% increase in investigations and an 18 percent increase in indictments from 2002. The Attorney General's office received 844 complaints of insurance fraud in 2003, with 44 percent focusing on auto insurance alone. The overall number of fraud complaints had decreased 7 percent from 2002. This brings the total to nearly $47 million in insurance fraud reported and over $4 million in monies collected since the South Carolina Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Division began prosecuting insurance fraud cases in May of 1995.

Most insurance companies now have their own Special Investigations Unit (SIU's) to check out suspected cases of insurance fraud. To report suspected insurance fraud, call your insurance company or the South Carolina Insurance Fraud hotline at 1-888-95-FRAUD. This hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for reporting insurance fraud, which can be a felony in South Carolina. All reports remain confidential, and you do not have to give your name.

Return to essay titles.


How Does Insurance Fraud Hurt S.C. Citizens?
by Natasha Summers
Branchville High School

Insurance fraud is a deliberate deception of South Carolina citizens to receive financial gain. South Carolina citizens are very concerned with how insurance fraud may be hurting them. Insurance fraud is committed every year by a numerous amount of people in South Carolina. Unfortunately, insurance frauders fail to realize they are infringing on the rights of other citizens. One in three Americans believe it is all right to commit insurance fraud. Insurance fraud directly affects the amount that is paid for health, auto, and homeowner's insurance.

There are several ways insurance fraud may hurt South Carolina citizens. Insurance rates on cars for teenagers increase due to insurance fraud. Most teenagers receive his or her license around the age of sixteen. As insurance rates continue to increase due to insurance fraud, less teenagers are getting their license immediately after having their permit.

The average American household pays around one thousand thirty dollars per year due to insurance fraud in South Carolina. This money should be spent on items that will benefit South Carolina. Auto, home and business insurance fraud cost Americans more than eighty-five billion dollars a year. Insurance fraud would be known as a top fortune five hundred company if it was a business.

The simplest type of fraud is misrepresenting facts on an application, and the most serious type of fraud is submitting claims for injuries that never happened. Seven of the most common types of insurance fraud are under-reporting, failing to report, faking or exaggerating injuries, falsifying or overstating injuries, staging automobile accidents, fabricating relationships, and exaggerating the value of items stolen.

South Carolina's biggest ally in the fight against insurance fraud is Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina. Blue Cross works with the federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to prosecute fraud cases. Examples of health insurance fraud by customers are letting someone else who does not have healthcare coverage use their cards, filing false claims or changing dates of service. People think insurance companies and businesses do not commit insurance fraud, but they do. Some examples of healthcare fraud committed by doctors and healthcare professionals are billing for more expensive services the patient never received, filing claims for unnecessary procedures, and filing a claim for a more expensive procedure than the one actually given. Doctors and healthcare professionals are more likely to commit fraud against older people because they are mere naïve.

Officials hope increasing the awareness of insurance fraud will encourage consumers to use the South Carolina Insurance Fraud Hotline to report cases to the Attorney General's Insurance Fraud Division. The law states, if you suspect someone has committed insurance fraud you are obligated to report the crime. You are not obligated to reveal your identity when reporting a crime.

Insurance fraud is a serious felony. The penalties for insurance fraud has increased over the years, and it continues to increase. Insurance frauders deprive citizens of their rights. It is very important for South Carolina to reduce its acts of insurance fraud.

Return to essay titles.


Insurance Fraud: Crimes & Cover-ups
by Shannon Smoak
Branchville High School

Insurance fraud is hurting South Carolina citizens everyday. Average American households pay an average of $1000 as a result of insurance fraud. Misrepresenting facts or over exaggerating the truth on insurance forms can lead to fraud and cause big problems — along with charges.

Over 600 cases of insurance fraud are reported each year in South Carolina. Since May of 1995, when the South Carolina Attorney General's Insurance Fraud began prosecuting insurance fraud cases, over $4 million has been collected. The average South Carolina pays of $1000 a year. The increase in insurance premiums, cost of goods and services, and taxes are a result of insurance fraud.

One in every four people thinks that it is all ri8ght to exaggerate a false insurance claim. Faking injuries, lying on health insurance applications and fraudulent stolen items are all examples of insurance fraud. To fake health injuries someone may hit their friend with a board or brick to make them look like they have serious injuries. After having serious diseases or illnesses, a person may lie about their past health status. People will even take the risk of taking their own car and driving it off somewhere to burn it. Later, they would claim it stolen.

In 2003, Governor Mark Sanford declared September 22-26 Insurance Fraud Awareness Week in South Carolina. The Attorney General and South Carolina Insurance News Service announced an initiative to try and stop insurance fraud. They also wanted to inform the public to make them aware of the results of insurance fraud, and they wanted to increase public participation in acts to stop insurance fraud.

Insurance companies send out Special Investigative Units (SIU's) when they suspect a fraudulent insurance claim. Those who commit insurance fraud are stealing from the citizens of South Carolina. They are cheating consumers, the state, and the insurance industry out of millions of dollars.

Ten percent of all auto, home, and business insurance claims are fraudulent. People make up stories and false claims just to get their greedy little hands on money. Money isn't everything, and lying to get it just isn't worth it.

There have been many outrageous stores and tales of insurance fraud. One man hit his friend with a board to fake injuries from a staged motorcycle accident. Another man claimed that his car just all of a sudden burst into flames. A woman from Anderson County claimed that her husband was dead. Later, she even faked her own death. Afterwards, her husband and she were both discovered alive and health. A man claimed that over $100,000.00 worth of satellite dishes were stolen from his backyard. Upon investigation, the only think that was in his backyard was a lawnmower.

Many hotlines have been started to help those who have committed insurance fraud and those who know of someone who has done such a thing. "In 1997, the Insurance Fraud Division of the South Carolina Attorney General's office, in conjunction with Professional Insurance Agents of South Carolina and the South Carolina Insurance News Service, started an Insurance Fraud Hotline for reporting insurance fraud. "We need the help of the general public to fight fraud in our state," said Allison Dean Wright, Executive Director, South Carolina Insurance News Service. "We all pay for insurance fraud. It's time to fight back by reporting it."

Remember: Insurance fraud is a CRIME!

Return to essay titles.


"Dial 'F' for Fraud"
by Kimberly Ott
Branchville High School

A man sets his car on fire. Another burns his family home on Christmas Day. A woman repeatedly claims to be dead. One man goes as far as to have his friend hit him with a board. Why have these people committed these seemingly senseless acts? They wanted to collect on their insurance policies.

These incidents, while certainly extreme are just a sample of the many cases of insurance fraud. The crimes occurred within four years of each other in our own beloved state of smiling faces and beautiful places, South Carolina. The absurdity of the above examples earned them a spot on "South Carolina Top Ten Most Outrageous Cases of Insurance Fraud: for the years 1999-2003, along with a dishonest chiropractor and a nursing home scam. But insurance fraud need not be so outrageous. An act as simple as misrepresenting facts on an insurance application qualifies as insurance fraud.

Insurance fraud, simply put, is reporting inaccurate information to insurance companies in order to collect money. Some common types of insurance fraud include: reporting inaccurate medical information, exaggerating the value of stolen objects faking injuries, and staging accidents. No longer the rarity it once was, insurance fraud today is as common-place as a walk in the park and almost as acceptable. According to the South Carolina Attorney General's Office, "One in every 3 Americans believes it is 'all right' to pad claims to make up for premiums paid in previous years when they had no claims." The office also states that at least ten percent of insurance claims are fraudulent or highly inflated. It is falsely believed that no one pays a price for information fraud. In reality, the American people pay.

The average American household ends up paying $1,030 more each year as a result of insurance fraud. Citizens must pay more money for health, auto, and homeowner's insurance to make up for the money insurance companies get cheated out of. Americans paid $96 billion dollars for insurance fraud in 1999. Add in the consequential higher costs of goods and services, and that sum could jump up as much as $530 billion dollars higher. Fraudulence is rampant throughout the United States, and South Carolina is no exception.

Fraudulence is committed by people of all backgrounds, and people of all backgrounds are affected. Those guilty of committing fraudulent acts have essentially stolen from the insurance companies as well as the general public. South Carolinians are eating the cost of that stolen money. They are having to compensate for their fellow citizen's lies. Many feel helpless and at the expense of the dishonest. But residents can do something about insurance fraud.

The phone number for the South Carolina Insurance Fraud Hotline is 1-888-95-FRAUD. The hotline is open at all hours, and callers do not have to reveal their identities. Depending on the circumstances, those charged guilty of insurance fraud can serve up to five years in a state prison as well as pay fines as high as $50,000. Reporting insurance fraud can help stop the most costly white collar crime in America. If we work together to end insurance scams, fraudulence may one day become a crime of the past.

Return to essay titles.


South Carolina — Fraud Free
by Jessica Harvey
York Junior High School

The Fortune 500 is one of the most esteemed list in the United States, displaying the 500 most successful companies in the nation. Companies on this list rake in billions o9f dollars every year. In 2002, the top companies on this list were Wal*Mart, Exxon-Mobil, General Motors and insurance fraud? As absurd as it sounds, if insurance fraud was to become a company, it would not only make the Fortune 500 list, but it would land among the top fifteen.

The peculiar thing is people who commit insurance fraud, now considered a felony by most states, think they are somehow gaining money by not having to pay it, but the truth is, an average American household pays approximately $1,300 due to insurance fraud annually. Are "frauders" truly gaining?

With 85 billion dollars, the amount of money insurance fraud costs America as a whole every year, new schools, which are in dire need across our country, could be built. At the beginning of the school year, a new high school was inquired about in my town. Since the blueprints were so expensive, inhabitants of York had to vote on the school with only a vague idea of what it might look like. This turned the citizens against the idea, so that meant no new school.

The citizens in my town have also had to see orange cones with the label, "Pennies for Progress" all over our roads for about a year now. Obviously there hasn't been enough pennies because we have certainly seen no progress.

Why should the people of my town have to pay for our new roads and schools? Why isn't the government helping? Maybe they aren't helping because they are so worried about the money our nation is losing in insurance fraud.

When we look at all of the opportunities this money could have been spent on, it may make us wonder why we haven't put a stop to this simple problem earlier. The trouble is, this problem isn't simple at all. Insurance fraud is an extremely broad category. Deceptions dealing with your auto policy all the way to faking a serious accident are classified under insurance fraud.

It may also be getting harder to stop people from committing this felony because Americans are becoming more tolerant of this unlawful activity. Several surveys have been conducted only to find that somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of Americans consider it acceptable to swindle on insurance claims.

As disturbing as this figure sounds, there is another aspect that is more alarming. This factor is the actual false claims South Carolinians have tried to get away with. In one case, a woman claiming she was dead was almost given $400,000. There have also been several cases in South Carolina in which people take advantage of elderly people in order to receive insurance money.

Through this paper I have learned a lot, but there is still one question I have. How did South Carolina turn into an area in which people lie to, steal from, and take advantage of others? This question may never be answered, but there is one thing I am sure of. As long as companies such as the S.C. Attorney General's Office, the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, and the S.C. Insurance Fraud Investigators continue to work on educating students such as myself, and punishing this transgression, I am convinced that South Carolina will one day return to being fraud free.

Return to essay titles.