Tuesday, 08 June 2010 23:28

CAA Reminds Members and Non-Members that it's here to educate about Fraud

The California Autobody Association (CAA) learned last week about fifty-three Orange County estimators and owners that were arrested and charged on felony insurance fraud following a 5-month investigation by the Orange County Automotive Insurance Fraud Unit that targeted auto body repair shops. The OCDA conducted 152 undercover operations throughout Orange County between January and May 2010.

These undercover sting operations have been going on periodically since the early 2000’s throughout California. An undercover investigator will bring a car into a shop in which the investigator wants the shop estimator to help him / her defraud their insurance company. At this time, the undercover investigator makes it clear that it is his / her intention to present this estimate to the insurer to commit insurance fraud. At this time, the investigator is recording or videoing the
conversation.


In 2004, the California Autobody Association formed an Auto Body Fraud Task Force to better inform and prevent fraud not only with auto body repair facilities but insurance companies, law enforcement, consumers, and BAR about what constitutes fraud. CAA Past President Don Feeley was spearheading this group and was very successful in creating a flyer on fraud that is still used today. (A copy of the flyer is posted on the CAA website).

In addition, the CAA has a section of their Collision Industry Guide, Part 1, that discusses how shops should be aware of potential sting operations and information that is very beneficial to shop employees. This section has been highlighted on the CAA website at www.calautobody.com under the member’s only area. The CAA also has a “Stay Out of Jail” fraud presentation that has been presented to chapters and is still available for chapter meetings.

The CAA wants to make sure that every member is aware that these auto repair stings will continue. Make sure all your employees are aware of these on-going stings and the procedures to ensure that they will not be in violation. There is
nothing wrong with estimating previous damage but make sure that it is noted on the estimate and that it is made clear to the insured what will be covered by this insurance claim and what is not. Any customer that is persistent in wanting you or your business to commit insurance fraud, should be made aware that you will notify the police and the Department of Insurance immediately.

 

If you have any questions, please call the CAA state office.

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