To combat insurance fraud, the Louisiana Legislature created a multi-agency task force dedicated solely to the investigation and prosecution of insurance fraud in Louisiana. Since February of 2000, the Louisiana Attorney General’s Insurance Fraud Support Unit has operated as a member of the Insurance Fraud Task Force, working closely with the Louisiana State Police and Department of Insurance to investigate and prosecute virtually all types of insurance fraud that occur within the State of Louisiana. Some examples of the types of insurance fraud encountered by the task force are agent theft, arson, fictitious policies, health care fraud, home and automobile repair fraud, phony slip and falls, phony automobile theft, premium avoidance, staged automobile accidents, money laundering, workers compensation fraud, forged insurance ID cards, public bribery and filing false public records. Criminal conduct that in any way relates to insurance falls within the purview of the task force.
One of the major roles of the Insurance Fraud Support Unit in the task force is to provide ongoing legal support, assistance, and consultation to law enforcement officers who investigate cases of suspected insurance fraud in Louisiana. This includes day-to-day contact as needed with the investigating officers to answer legal questions and provide them with a prosecutor’s perspective.
The Insurance Fraud Support Unit also provides assistance upon request to local district attorneys throughout Louisiana by handling criminal prosecutions of insurance fraud offenders after they are arrested. The unit has handled insurance fraud cases of all sizes, ranging from basic claims fraud to a number of high-dollar money laundering and fraud cases.
From time to time, attorneys from the Insurance Fraud Support Unit are asked by various groups to provide training on issues related to the investigation and prosecution of insurance fraud. There is also regular interaction with national groups such as the National Insurance Crime Bureau and the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, the insurance industry and local, state and federal law enforcement. Attorneys within the unit also receive training related to the investigation and prosecution of insurance fraud on a regular basis.
•Premiums increase, and stay high. Auto and homeowner insurance prices stay high because insurance companies must pass the large costs of insurance fraud to policyholders.
•Consumer goods cost more. Prices of goods at your department or grocery store keep rising when businesses pass higher costs of their health and commercial insurance onto customers.
•Honest businesses lose money. Businesses lose millions in income annually because fraud increases their costs for employee health coverage and business insurance.
•Unlawful Use of Emergency Services. When police, fire and ambulance resources are tied up responding to staged accident, the safety of those in the public who are involved in legitimate emergencies is risked.
•Employees lose jobs. People lose jobs, careers and health coverage when insurance companies go bankrupt after being looted by fraud thieves.
Suspected cases of insurance fraud can be reported by contacting the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud Unit (www.lsp.org/ifu.html) and the Louisiana Department of Insurance Fraud Section (https://www.ldi.la.gov/consumers/insurance-fraud/report-insurance-fraud).