Texas Insurance Commissioner: Insurance Fraud Not A Victimless Crime

District Attorney Pat Lykos
The Harris County District Attorney's office has launched a new initiative to cut down on fraudulent insurance payouts. Last year, insurance fraud cases totaled nearly $24 million in Texas alone.

Mark Hanna
Mark Hanna, with Insurance Council of Texas

 

 

 

 

Insurance fraud is a multi-billion dollar industry that takes on many forms. There are staged auto accidents, vehicle arson and theft, and medical disability and worker's compensation claims. These illegal payouts cost insurance companies here $23.8 million a year.

Mark Hanna is with the Insurance Council of Texas, a trade association representing some 500 insurance companies that works to fight insurance fraud.

"People are a lot more concerned with major crimes against people, and they don't look at these minor crimes that deal with a lot of money. And unfortunately, it all comes back to you and me. It's coming out of our pocketbook."

Texas Insurance Commissioner Eleanor Kitzman says despite efforts by agencies like the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the Texas Committee on Fraud, the crime is not as widely known or publicized as it should be.

"Criminals are very creative and very resourceful. And, anytime they think that there's a pot of money out there that really isn't going to investigate, they go after it. There are a lot of motivating factors, some of it is very much organized crime, some of it individuals that file fradulent claims, and I think for a lot of people, they think it's a victimless crime, and it's not."

Eleanor Kitzman
Eleanor Kitzman, Texas Insurance Commissioner

The Texas Department of Insurance will provide and fund a prosecutor and investigator here, who are specially trained to uncover and attack crooks who have made a living defrauding insurance companies.

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...