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County sees 62 percent decrease in staged auto accidents | Crime

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County sees 62 percent decrease in staged auto accidents
County sees 62 percent decrease in staged auto accidents

 

Hillsborough County, FL -- Last week, the county announced the crackdown on Personal Injury Protection (PIP) fraud - or staged auto accidents - yielded dramatic results in just the first six months.

On Wednesday, Feb. 8, the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the County’s Consumer Protection Agency are releasing numbers spotlighting a 62 percent decrease in staged auto accidents and questionable insurance claims. This is the first report since passage of the Hillsborough County PIP Medical Providers Ordinance last September.

The Ordinance regulates questionable clinics by requiring them to register with the County and maintain consistent business practices.

The county said the affects of the PIP Ordinance are undeniable. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, staged auto accidents have decreased from 2010 to 2011 in the County by 62 percent, much of this occurring since the passage of the Ordinance.  The Hillsborough Consumer Protection Agency reported that nearly half of the disputed clinics have closed; 79 within one month of the Ordinance’s passage, while 32 more closed soon after.  Another 22 percent have applied for exemptions or licenses.  The NICB also reports a dramatic decrease in questionable insurance claims.  In 2010, there was an average of forty questionable claims per month; in 2011, that number dropped to nearly zero.

County Commissioner Kevin Beckner spearheaded efforts to pass the PIP Medical Providers Ordinance, pulling together experts from the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, NICB, and the Fraud Alert Team, a national insurance fraud advocacy group.

“These results speak volumes about the success of this Ordinance and the positive impact it is having on our community,” Commissioner Beckner said in a release. “It is my hope that this will serve as a model for other counties and communities across the state to combat the financially devastating impact of PIP Insurance Fraud."

The Hillsborough County PIP Medical Providers Ordinance is the first of its kind passed in the state of Florida to tackle the problem of PIP fraud.

The problem of staged accidents has plagued Florida and the Tampa Bay area in particular. Hillsborough County had become ground zero for staged auto accidents in Florida, directly contributing to higher car insurance premiums for Hillsborough County drivers and causing significant public safety issues.

“The goal is lower car insurance rates for Hillsborough County residents. By cracking down on these corrupt individuals we can reduce insurance fraud and hopefully make Hillsborough County a more affordable place to live,” Commissioner Beckner concluded.

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