Md.public meeting helped focus on needed reforms

Last week I took part in apublic meeting the Maryland Insurance Administration held in Baltimore toreview anti-frauds effort in the state. Part of the discussion surroundedanti-fraud bills that stalled this year when the 2016 session closed in mid-April.

The state insurancecommissioner Al Redmer Jr. chaired the meeting. He stayed the entire time. Hewent beyond simply giving an opening statement, then handing the meeting to thefraud unit’s chief. Redmer’s lengthy presence showed a strong interest in strengtheningstate’s anti-fraud efforts.

I called for the state toredouble its efforts to target drivers who lie where they garage their cars toillicitly lower their auto premiums.

Maryland drivers shouldregister and insure their vehicles in the state. Similarly, out-of-statedrivers should pay a steep penalty for lying that they drive and garage theirvehicles in Maryland to lower their auto premiums.

Maryland should beapplauded for last week’s effort. The session started dialogue for targetingauto-premium evasion and other insurance crimes. This could spark renewedpushes for anti-fraud legislation next year. The 2017 legislative session opensin January.

Other states can learn fromsessions like this one. A state’s anti-fraud effort is organic. Fraud fighters and theinsurance department must continually review its direction and impact. No stateshould rest on its laurels, thinking it’s doing a great job. Nor should a stategrow reluctant to act, believing the anti-fraud environment can’t be changed sowhy talk about it.

Maybe such a meeting in NewYork could help break up the logjam in Albany that has stalled so manyworthwhile anti-fraud measures in recent years. Or, a state like Oregon whichhas no insurance fraud law or anti-fraud infrastructure. Imagine what theinsurance departments and governors would learn if they held such meetings.Same with Michigan, which needs a fraud bureau.

More often than not,legislatures act in a vacuum when they look at anti-fraud laws. Too oftenthey’re pulled in several directions, making it hard to focus on enactinganti-fraud laws.

Fraud fighters shouldassume leadership and start action-driven dialogue. Reach out to the stateinsurance department, insurance commissioner and state attorney general.Co-sponsor open meetings to review their state’s fraud trends, and where newfraud laws are needed.

These joint efforts can goa long way toward enacting needed laws and regulations that make a state’santi-fraud efforts stronger than ever.

About the author: HowardGoldblatt is director of government affairs for the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud.

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