Harrisburg, PA – The Pennsylvania State Senate today passed Senate Bill 1181, sponsored by State Senator Kim Ward (R-39th), which amends the Insurance Company Law to provide limited immunity to Insurers and employees of insurers who investigate fraud. The bill is designed to assist law enforcement in fraud investigations by limiting the ability of individuals under investigation to bring civil cause of action against an insurer, or their employees, who are assisting law enforcement with the case.
“Insurance fraud costs all of us in the long-run when insurers cover their losses by incrementally raising premiums on all policy holders. This bill allows investigators to work together in determining fraud without the threat of a civil lawsuit,” stated Ward.
“With insurance costs continuing to rise, consumers need to be reassured that the State Legislature is providing law enforcement the proper tools to crack down on fraud and abuse,” Ward continued. “This bill sends a message to those who abuse the system, that they will no longer be able to bully their insurance company from cooperating with law enforcement, when an investigation is taking place,” finished Ward.
Statistics released by the Pennsylvania Insurance Fraud Prevention Authority in July of 20101, showed that referrals of potential fraud to authorities in the first of half of 2010 increased 22% from the same period in 2009. In addition, they reported that these referrals indicate that the past two year trend in increased fraud referrals in Pennsylvania had not yet ended.
Senate Bill 1181 will now proceed to the House of Representatives for consideration prior to the end of the 2009-2019 legislative session.
Contact: Tom Aikens