November 17, 2016
OLYMPIA, Wash. – Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU) has earned accreditation from the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, joining the 20 percent of law enforcement agencies in the state to have it. The accreditation means Kreidler’s insurance fraud investigations unit is certified as operating under industry best practices and standards and recognizes SIU as a professional law enforcement agency.
“Working toward accreditation was an intensive process to make sure we are following industry best practices,” said Kreidler. “Our goal is to increase public confidence and credibility in our agency and the work we do to combat insurance fraud in Washington state.”
Earning accreditation was a 25-month process that started in August 2014. The Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs looked at 133 standards in 19 areas, including use of force, health and safety, training, evidence control and code of conduct. SIU will undergo the same process in 2020 to earn reaccreditation.
Kreidler’s 13-person fraud unit employs two prosecutors, six detectives and two research analysts. The unit receives 150 insurance fraud referrals per month from the public, law enforcement, the state Attorney General‘s Office, other states and insurance companies. From May through October 2016, SIU opened 36 criminal fraud investigations, submitted 14 to a prosecutor and saw 10 cases end in convictions. Washington state’s insurance fraud most wanted are posted on the OIC's website.
Kreidler’s SIU works with the state Attorney General’s Office and local prosecutors to prosecute criminal cases. Insurance fraud costs the average family $400 to $700 per year in increased premiums. Consumers can report suspected insurance fraud on the Insurance Commissioner’s website.
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