Investigators wield impact asexpert constituent voices
A couple of years ago I blogged about how fraud investigators canbe key to enacting strong fraud laws.
The state legislative season is heating up, so let’s revisit. Weneed to think of how to mobilize for action.
Lobbying legislators can be top-down and bottom-up.
Top-down involves national groups like the Coalition or insurersraising the issues with legislators. Often we testify before committees or thefull chamber. That carries weight. We discuss the big picture, and how a statebill is good (or bad) for combating fraud from a larger viewpoint.
The bottom-up approach is the grassroots level. Investigators andother frontliners can take a lead role.
Investigators can wield great influence. State lawmakers listen toconstituents. Local people put a local face on fraud bills. Investigators alsoare respected crime-fighting experts. That voice speaks convincingly tolawmakers. They may know little about a fraud bill — or the crime it combats.
A tag team is the best formula for rallying support for fraudlaws: Local investigators work with national groups like the Coalition. We allbring vital strengths to the table.
State legislators usually don’t receive letters or messages aboutfraud issues. So when an investigator writes a letter, that could be the firsttime a legislator hears about the fraud bill, and why it’s good for the state.
This leads to my Rule of Five. One constituent letter raises feweyebrows in a legislator’s office. Five letters, and the legislator thinksabout the issue. And 25 letters signals a groundswell of support. That canconvince a legislator to support a fraud bill.
Enacting strong fraud laws has four positive goals. 1) Create aninfrastructure for insurers to investigate and report scams; 2) Give fraudfighters laws and regs that are pillars for chasing down swindlers; 3) Opposeweak bills that undermine the fraud fight; and 4) Educate lawmakers about thebenefits of strong fraud laws.
Together, our influence can place more fraud laws onto the books.We will educate lawmakers about how strong fraud laws benefit consumersthroughout a state.
So let’s add a fifth goal for fraud laws: Empower consumers andinsurers to better fight back against insurance fraud.
About the author: Howard Goldblatt is director of governmentaffairs for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.