Michigan Department of Insurance Gets New Fraud-Fighting Unit
The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) will have more resources to fight insurance and financial services fraud after Gov. Scott Walker issued an executive order creating a new anti-fraud unit within the DIFS.
The agency said the new unit will strengthen the agency’s efforts to investigate and prosecute fraud in the insurance and financial services sectors.
Since March, when DIFS launched a new webpage, www.mi.gov/InsuranceFraud, which enables consumers and the insurance industry to report fraud, regulators have received 167 fraud complaints from consumers and 68 complaints from the industry. The National Association of Insurance Commissioners last year received 3,453 suspected insurance fraud complaints from Michigan, according to the DIFS.
“The Department is pleased that the Governor sees the value of placing an anti-fraud unit within the Department of Insurance and Financial Services,” DIFS Director Patrick McPharlin in a statement released by his office. “Insurance fraud touches all consumers and is not a victimless crime. Insurance fraud schemes vary from the simple to the extremely complex. With this Executive Order, DIFS can more aggressively engage in crime fighting efforts.”
The executive order empowers DIFS to conduct more thorough and comprehensive background checks, and to coordinate and collaborate with other law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute fraudulent and criminal activities in the insurance and financial services sectors, the regulatory organization said.
The department recently announced the revocation of a producer license for embezzlement of over $15,000, the arrest of a producer suspected of fraudulently abusing his authority as the Power of Attorney for an Alzheimer’s Dementia patient, and the conviction of Stanley Hayes on 13 felony counts resulting from his theft of $710,000 from the Valley State Credit Union.