Streams

Driving Out Auto Insurance Fraud through Legislation

Friday, June 08, 2012

Assemblyman David Weprin and a spokesman for AAA at City Hall lobbying for a bill that would make staged accidents for insurance claims a felony offense. Assemblyman David Weprin and a spokesman for AAA at City Hall lobbying for a bill that would make staged accidents for insurance claims a felony offense. (Jorteh Senah/WNYC)

Assemblyman David Weprin and other advocates are urging the New York State Assembly to pass a bill that will make it a felony to stage a car accident. The crime is currently a misdemeanor. 

Alice's Law is named after Queens grandmother, Alice Ross, who died in a staged automobile accident as part of an insurance fraud. Three men were involved in the scheme, one of whom intentionally hit the car Ross was driving, causing her to careen into a tree. This type of fraud is prevalent because New York is a No-Fault law state, which means insurers have to pay victims of an auto accident even if the victim was responsible for the incident.

“I believe once Alice’s Bill becomes Alice’s Law, not only will consumers save hundreds of hundreds of dollars of their own annual premiums but we will save lives,” Weprin said, during a press conference at City Hall.

The bill was passed by the state Senate earlier this year and now Weprin, along with AAA New York and the advocacy group, New Yorkers Stand Against Insurance Fraud, are pushing for its passage before the legislature
finishes its session on June 21.

Weprin said there are those in Albany that don’t think additional crime categories should be made law, but he said there are over thirty sponsors for the bill in the legislature. David Schwartz, an attorney for New Yorkers Stand Against Insurance Fraud, added that critics who call the bill duplicative should analyze similar laws.

“We pass laws all the time that are duplicative but they send a message to certain epidemics that are going on,” Schwartz said. “Look at hate crime legislation. That, too, can be duplicative. But we passed hate crime legislation to stop hate crimes from happening.”   

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Jun. 28 2012 06:23 AM

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