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Auto fraud surges in Florida's Duval County

Posted On Mon, March 7, 2011

A recent report from Florida's Department of Financial Services is making it abundantly clear that the state remains the auto insurance fraud capital of America.

According to the report, personal injury protection insurance claims, or PIP, increased 44 percent in 2010, going from 6,228 last year from 4,312 in 2009.

Among the counties, Dade County had the highest number at 1,603, but the most significant surge in fraud cases occurred in Duval County, from 40 to 99, a 147.5 percent uptick. Polk was the only area where fraud referrals dropped, going from 77 to 62, a change of 19 percent.

On Tuesday, the state's Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater announced the arrests of 17 people involved in auto insurance fraud and stated that eight more are still being sought by investigators.

"This is just one example of the hundreds of similar fraud schemes run daily by accident clinics operating throughout Florida," Atwater said. "The fraud schemers bill insurance companies for procedures that never happen, and we all get stuck with the bill through increased auto insurance premiums."

According to Insweb, the average insurance premium in Florida costs policyholders approximately $1,500 annually.

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