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January 24, 2003

Senate offers new legislation to combat auto-insurance fraud

Saying auto insurance fraud costs New Yorkers more than $1 billion a year, the Senate Majority has proposed new legislation to combat that fraud.

As many as one-third of all auto-insurance claims contain some element of fraud, Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno said, and that is "a major reason why auto rates in New York are the fourth highest in the country. The Senate plan would help to reduce premiums by making it tougher to commit fraud and increasing penalties on people who commit fraud."

The Senate proposal includes tougher penalties against scam artists, more time to challenge potentially fraudulent insurance claims, greater anti-fraud enforcement, and measures to ensure that consumers receive a savings as a result of the fraud crackdown.

There were almost 15,000 reports of auto insurance fraud in New York State in 2002, or more than 41 fraud reports every single day, the Senate release said. Auto insurance fraud adds $124 to the cost of each consumer's personal injury protection costs-an amount that is expected to grow to $300 a year without immediate legislative action, the release added, citing information from Insurance Information Institute.