Allstate Sues Washington Auto Glass Shop and Its Owners
for Insurance Fraud Allstate Insurance has filed a suit
against Auto Glass Express and Premier Auto Glass in Burien, Wash., along
with company owners Michael and Trena Perkins, alleging that in multiple
cases they billed (and were paid for) OEM glass, while actually “purchasing
and installing aftermarket windshields,” according to court documents.
Previously, the Washington state insurance commissioner’s office had filed
criminal charges against Michael Perkins for related allegations involving
Allstate, State Farm and MetLife.
“Despite the fact that defendants installed an inferior product that defendants
had acquired at a lower price, defendants continued to bill and collect
funds from Allstate based upon its representations to Allstate that it
was installing original manufactured glass in all instances,” writes the
company in its January 4 complaint. “At no time did defendants ever advise
Allstate of the true nature of the work it was performing on subject Allstate
insured vehicles. Moreover, defendants never advised Allstate of the fact
that it was acquiring the inferior glass products at a reduced rate as
opposed to the higher rates being charged to Allstate in the direct billings.”
Allstate officials say that when the state’s Office of the Insurance
Commissioner launched its January 2010 investigation, it “identified a
number of specific Allstate customers who had obtained fraudulent services
through Premier.” These totaled 2,572 Allstate customers serviced by the
companies, according to court documents.
The insurer claims the amounts charged for the services for all of these
“was fraudulent and deceptive” and that the company has been overcharged
a total of $585,946.08 by Premier and Auto Glass Express.
Allstate is seeking a jury trial in the case. At press time, neither the
Perkins nor their companies had responded to the complaint.
In addition, a criminal case against Michael Perkins is still under the
review of the King County Superior Court.
Trena Perkins declined to comment on the case.
Florida CFO Awards Three “Witnesses” Total of $25,000 for Providing
Info in Lee and Cates Fraud Case
The office of Florida chief financial officer Jeff Atwater has awarded
a total of $25,000 to three “witnesses” who allegedly provided information
in the insurance fraud case filed against Lee and Cates Glass Co. in Jacksonville,
Fla., in early 2009.
According to state officials, one of the witnesses will be paid $15,000,
one will receive $8,750 and the other $1,250; none of the three was identified.
The awards were calculated based on the amount of assistance each provided,
according to Nina Ashley Banister, communications coordinator for the
Department of Financial Services.
“The anti-fraud reward program is promulgated by statute s. 626.9892,
FS, Administrative Rule 69D-1 and DIF policy 218,” says Banister. “These
govern the criteria and requirements of the program. The rule sets the
guidelines for the reward amounts, which are based on the amount of the
potential or actual loss … “
Banister advised she could not reveal the identity of those rewarded in
the Lee and Cates case, but did say they were not employees of an insurance
The funds come from “annual legislative allocation,” according to Banister.
The state claims that Lee and Cates Glass Co. filed 2,245 fraudulent claims
totaling more than $1.2 million, and that it “allegedly overbilled windshields
and associated parts by billing insurance companies for a dealer windshield
but using a less expensive, aftermarket item.”
Insurer Group Reports 450 Percent Increase in “Questionable”
Auto Glass Claims
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) says “questionable” auto glass
claims increased 450 percent from 2009 to 2010. NICB defines “questionable”
claims as “those claims that NICB member insurance companies refer to
NICB for closer review and investigation based on one or more indicators
of possible fraud.”
NICB officials say that in 2010, the bureau’s members reported 2,182 “questionable”
auto glass claims, compared with 397 in 2009—a difference of 1,785 (450
In 2008, the group reports that it received reports of only 252 “questionable”
auto glass claims—58 percent less than in 2009.
Auto glass topped the auto insurance claim list, with inflated towing/storage
bills following just behind it, in comparison to 2009.
NICB also has issued several recent warnings to consumers about “windshield
bullies,” including a February 2011 press release that advised consumers
about “insurance scams involving unsolicited service providers,” including
those representing auto glass repair and replacement businesses. That
release featured a new slogan, “If you didn’t request it—reject it,” and
mentioned “unnecessary auto glass repairs, aggressive and exorbitant towing
charges, needless home repairs, total roof replacements, sinkhole damage,
[and] solicitation of accident
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