State Representative Andy Thomas' (R-Brazil) bill on insurance fraud passed out of the House with a vote of 95 to 1. HB 1403 establishes a separate code for insurance fraud, making it a Class D felony. Before, insurance fraud was included under the general fraud section.
"There was a testimony that 25 percent of the cost of insurance premiums is a result of insurance fraud," said Rep. Thomas. "This bill will help make insurance fraud easier to prosecute."
The bill will also make the offenses a Class C felony if a person commits a second offense or if the value of property, services or other benefits obtained by a person is at least $2,500. Making this a more serious offense will allow insurance companies the ability to punish offenders and prevent further occurrences. Furthermore, the bill applies to insurance providers, giving consumers more protection from provider fraud.
"Consumers need and should have more protection from fraudulent offenses," said Thomas.