With the increase in social media, a new wave of information has been opened, creating a new channel of communication. Surveys found that 97% of online adults between the ages 16-64 have visited or used a social network within the last month. Internet users have an average of 7 social accounts, up from 3 in 2012. More than half of online adults (56%) use more than one of the five social media platforms measured in this survey.
The increase in social media usage has created an avenue for individuals to increase fraudulent activity. The Insurance Information Institute estimates that property and casualty fraud amount to about $32 billion a year. According to a November 2016 study published by the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, 61% of companies surveyed said suspected fraud had increased, up from 51% in 2014.
This fraud is not only effecting insurance companies by ultimately impacting the premiums that small and middle market companies pay. Insurance companies have to find a way to combat these claims and are using social media as a tool. Special Investigation Units (SIU) within insurance companies have become more efficient and effective in investigating the claim, with the ability to gain more insight into claimants and circumstances to further investigate claims.
Social media allows insurance companies to discover important information about claimants, especially if they are committing fraud. For example, Property Casualty 360 cites one case where “a California corrections officer who filed for disability benefits due to a back injury. Two days later, he participated in a mountain bike race, a fact that was discovered after Facebook posts, his headcam videos and race standings appeared online. He served 45 days in jail and paid a $5,000 fine.” It is important to ensure that a proactive claims investigation approach is used in order to combat this growing issue.
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