Sullivan: Absent All Auto Fraud,
Insurance Rates Wont Go Down!
Lawrence - Mayor Michael Sullivan says that even if police investigations are capable of eliminating all auto insurance fraud in the City of Lawrence, auto insurance rates still wont go down.
touting the hard work of Police Chief John Romero and the
Lawrence Police Department, said that the investigations
into auto insurance fraud in Lawrence were producing
startling results but added, If you call the Board
of Insurance today and ask, just for example, if
the auto fraud goes away completely (in Lawrence) at what
point will the rates go down? What they will tell
you is what
State Legislators, previous mayors and police chiefs have
been telling Lawrence residents that the high
What we are finding out is that, what will cause rates to go down (in Lawrence) is for the rest of the cities and towns in the state to tackle fraud in their communities as well. It would have to be a statewide effort. I think the insurance companies, years ago should have been doing the investigative work that the Lawrence police are doing this year.
Asked why insurance companies have done nothing to curb fraud, Sullivan replied, The insurance companies have been too quick to settle these cases because they dont want big legal bills. These large insurance companies have the tools to really go after fraudulent accidents. They havent done that but I think thats starting to change.
Im going to tell you how easy it would be for these insurance companies to investigate the fraud. Insurancecompanies keep a name log of all accident victims and anyone who has filed a claim. If they just analyze who was in more than 4 accidents in a 12-month period throughout the state, as the Lawrence police are doing now, they can break down the data on those accidents and take a lead role in investigating these cases. The only way Lawrence rates are going down is for fraud to go down throughout the state. That has to start with the insurance companies themselves.
The Lawrence police have been arresting business people who have been profiting from fraudulent injury claims. Sullivan says there are even more arrests coming and it isn't just chiropractors participating in the fraud. In the next couple of weeks you are going to see more information come out about attorneys and (other) chiropractors involved in this, it isnt just the drivers involved, he said of the ongoing investigation.
One local attorney who asked not to be named, said that even lawyers and auto shops are cashing in, paying people to file false claims and charging for work that is not needed.
Since the death of a Lawrence grandmother during a staged auto accident last year, the Lawrence police have been investigating hundreds of cases of fraud according to Police Chief John Romero. Romero said a task force has been formed including the FBI, Essex County District Attorney Jon Blodgett, Attorney General Tom Reilly, the State Police, and insurance investigators from every company doing business in Massachusetts.
unmasking new cases every day," Romero said.
My advice to people is this: If you, or someone you
know, were involved in auto fraud or a staged accident in
the last few years, you are better off coming to us and
talking to us because, eventually, we will be coming to
talk to you, he said. "We have signed
affidavits from people who admit their involvement in
staged accidents." Romero says that in the short
time they have been investigating insurance fraud the
Lawrence police have also uncovered some startling
information regarding other crimes. In the ninety days
after it was reported in the press that Lawrence police
were making arrests, car
shows that about one-third of the cars stolen in the City
of Lawrence are taken specifically for the purpose of
staging accidents to defraud the auto insurance
companies, Romero told the residents of Mount
Vernon at a neighborhood meeting. If the city stops auto
fraud completely tomorrow, he said, in the
eyes of the state
Sullivan said once this case is over he is afraid the
media attention will go away and the problem will go on
as it has for years throughout the state. We have
to put a stop to this. This is my $3,000 dollars I pay
for insurance, just like everyone else who pays auto
insurance in the city. For his part, Mayor Sullivan
says he has a plan for decreasing insurance rates for
Lawrence residents. I am working with our
legislators to change the structure on how our policies
are drafted in the first place. It shouldnt be
based on your zip code. It should be based on your
driving record. I want to see legislation that says,
it doesnt matter where you live, if you are a
good driver in Lawrence or a good driver in Haverhill,
your rates should be the same. If you are a step
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