STUDY: INSURANCE FRAUD BIG IN FLORIDA, AND SO IS THE
Florida's insurance fraud division ranks second in the
country, leading the nation in criminal cases it sent to prosecutors for
potential trial, and ranks near the top in other key fraud-fighting
categories, a Coalition Against Insurance Fraud's state fraud bureaus study
"Florida has some of the largest insurance-fraud problems in the U.S. The
fraud division has mounted an energetic response, but the state needs more
resources, including fraud prosecutors, before it can begin turning the
corner on this crime," said Dennis Jay, the Coalition's executive director,
in a release.
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud conducted an annual study of the 47
state anti-fraud agencies as a barometer of progress in fighting insurance
fraud nationally, said James Quiggle, director of communications.
On convictions, Florida ranks second nationally with 493 criminal
convictions in 2005--a 27 percent increase over 2004. Florida's convictions
are more than five times the national average of 93 convictions per fraud
bureau, according to the study. California ranked No. 1, with 1,546
convictions. Based on cases presented for prosecution, Florida's fraud
division sent a nation-leading 773 cases to prosecutors in 2005, slightly
ahead of California's 754 cases. Florida's total is more than six times the
national average of 119 cases presented per fraud bureau.
Also, Florida's fraud division ranks third nationally with 11,068 case
leads it received in 2005. Case leads come from insurance companies, calls
to the fraud hotline and referrals from other law enforcement agencies, a
release said. Florida's total is nearly four times the national average of
2,834 case leads. Florida, California (27,687) and New York (25,945) jointly
account for more than half of all case leads received by the nation's fraud
In terms of investigations opened, Florida ranks fourth nationally
with1,643 fraud cases opened for investigation in 2005. Florida's total is
more than twice the national average of 650 cases opened. New Jersey leads
the nation with 2,977 cases opened.
Meanwhile, Florida also has one of the nation's largest fraud divisions.
It reported the third-largest budget in 2006 ($12.8 million), and third
largest staff (171 employees). Florida's budget is four times the average
budget $3.2 million, and the division employs more than five times the
average of 32 employees. California leads the nation with a $36.8 million
budget and 298 employees.
From a court-ordered restitution standpoint, Florida leads the nation in
court-ordered restitution with $131.5 million in 2005, with New Jersey
second at $89.9 million. The study doesn't track how much money is
The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud is a national alliance of insurance
companies, consumer groups and government agencies combating all forms of
insurance fraud. The full study is available at