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Virginia law requiring access to documents amended

As a result of legislation passed by the 2012 Virginia General Assembly, the Virginia
State Police will find it a little easier to get the documents necessary to fully
investigate insurance fraud referrals.

Effective July 1, 2012, §52-38 of the Code of Virginia, requiring insurance
companies and professionals to provide the VSP all requested documents deemed
pertinent in the investigation of insurance fraud, has been expanded to include all
evidence, documentation and related materials, whether written or electronic, that
are located in the Commonwealth or may be accessed electronically by an insurer
or insurance professional conducting business in the Commonwealth.

Prior to this amended legislation, the code referenced only documents located in
Virginia. Insurance companies and insurance professionals doing business online
only or are located outside the state, but have documents readily available
electronically, will now be required to submit those documents to the Department
when requested.

Other sections of the code relating to confidentiality and immunity from liability
remained unchanged. Simply put, documents and evidence submitted to the VSP
in relation to an insurance fraud case are confidential and will not be available for
public inspection. In addition, persons submitting information related to an
insurance fraud investigation are immune from liability.

Also unchanged is the section of the code, § 52-40, that refers to the duties of
insurers, their employees and insurance professionals, which states if any insurer,
any employee of an insurer or any insurance professional has knowledge of, or has
reason to believe that insurance fraud will be, is being, or has been committed,
they must notify the Department of State Police. The amended legislation should
make it easier for insurers to comply with this section of the code.

Insurance fraud is a costly crime that affects all Virginia households, not only in
increased premiums, but also by driving up the cost of everyday goods and
services. The crime of insurance fraud is ranked second behind tax evasion as the
most common and costly white-collar crime in the U.S. It’s estimated to add as
much as $1,000 per Virginia household to the cost of goods and between $200 and
$1,000 per year in increased premiums.

The Insurance Fraud Program of the Virginia State Police was established January
1, 1999, through legislation approved by the General Assembly. The program’s
mission is to address the growing crime of insurance fraud in Virginia by conducting
thorough professional insurance fraud investigations; by providing insurance fraud
training for law enforcement personnel; and by increasing citizen awareness and
cooperation through educational and tip-reward programs.

The VSP is committed to “Stamping Out” insurance fraud occurring in the
Commonwealth. If you have knowledge of a fraudulent insurance scheme or
suspect you may have been the victim of insurance fraud, report the activity to
Virginia State Police Insurance Fraud Program on the insurance fraud hotline at 1-
877-62FRAUD (1-877-623-7283) or visit www.StampOutFraud.com. You can also find us
on Facebook and YouTube. Tipsters will remain anonymous and may also be eligible
to receive a reward of up to $25,000.