Ever drive by a mail parking lot and see a sign that said “Will Fix Chips On Windshield For Free?” Well, nothing is free. Most of these entrepeneurs request your insurance information when you drive up and ask them to fix your chipped windshield. Once you leave, happy that you no longer have to look at the unsightly chip on your windshield, the entrepeneur bills your insurance company for the work. Well, it appears that at least one of these entrepeneurs was not honest about his billing and work.
Michael Perkins was charged and plead guilty to three counts of theft. The theft? Defrauding insurance companies approximately $1.5 million. This is how Mr. Perkins’ scheme worked. He would fix a windshield, then bill the insurance company. But, Mr. Perkins would “inflate” his bill. For example, on one bill, Mr. Perkins charged $1,000 for fixing a Toyota windshield. the actual costs for the Toyota windshield? $92. Mr. Perkins’ scheme went on for some four years before the Farmers Insurance finally caught on and informed the Washington State Insurance Commissioner.
As a result of his conduct, Mr. Perkins will serve 9 months in jail.
Over the years, I have constantly heard that tort law is the reason insurance premiums skyrocket. Well, I would offer a different explanation for high insurance premiums: fraud. All it took was one man to deprive the insurance industry of $1.5 million over a four-year period.