FLORENCE, SC (WBTW) – The State Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson says the state ranks seventh in the nation for staged car wrecks.
Insurance officials say staged accidents have a trickle-down impact on taxpayers, hospital costs and higher rates for car insurance.
Longtime Insurance Agent Amy Rodriguez says there are two main types of staged crashes:
- When a person damages their own car and fakes injuries
- When one car intentionally hits another car from behind
“If it messes up their bumper they can go ahead and file a claim and say ‘that the car was going too slow or stopped in the middle of the intersection and it made me hit them. I had no choice’,” Rodriguez. ”It’s going to be your word against their’s.”
Rodriguez says Florence is considered a high liability area because of the number of crashes.
She says insurance rates have gone up over the last 12 years, on average she sees a rate of $200-$250.
“If a person doesn’t have anything on their license, any tickets or violations. They are feeling it because they are paying a higher premium than they normally would be because of the claim losses that previously happened,” said Rodriguez. “The insurance companies have no choice but to raise the rates to cover all of the losses that they had the previous year.”
The Attorney General Office’s 2016 Annual Fraud report says:
“This is a dangerous problem that not only puts innocent drivers at risk, but also requires emergency crews to respond to these staged crime scenes which wastes taxpayer dollars.”
The AG ’s office is working alongside agency’s like the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) to combat the problem.
The NICB says the insurance industry loses about $30 -50 billion dollars a year to fraudulent reports.
Now law enforcement officials are training with SLED to recognize planned accidents.
“We do a lot of training with the state police , highway patrol, as well as local law enforcement. This is something to be wary of when taking an accident report,” Walt Woloszczuk, an Agent with the National Insurance Crime Bureau.
Rodriguez suggests drivers be more cautious out on the roads or at crosswalks.
“Anything they can do for them to keep the money in their pockets,” said Rodriquez.