Section 8B: Fraudulent claims board; establishment; membership; investigative powers; accident reports; chief of accident claims investigations; apportionment of costs; penalty
Section 8B. There shall be in the division of insurance a fraudulent claims board, hereinafter called the board, consisting of the commissioner of insurance or his designee, the registrar of motor vehicles or his designee, and the director of the state rating bureau or his designee. The commissioner of insurance or his designee shall be the chairman of the board.
The board shall have authority to investigate all claims alleging loss or damages arising out of the ownership, operation, maintenance or use of a motor vehicle anywhere within the commonwealth, filed by a claimant against any person insured by an insurance company which has issued a policy of insurance providing protection or indemnity to the insured owner and to any other person operating, maintaining or using the motor vehicle with the consent, express or implied, of the insured; and any other claim covered by insurance resulting from the operation of a motor vehicle.
Any company notified that such a claim is being made shall, within sixty days of the receipt of such notice, send to the board on a form prescribed by the board the information requested and such additional information relative to the accident and the parties claiming loss or damages because of the accident as the board may require. The board shall review such reports and select such claims as, in its judgment, may require further investigation. It shall then cause an independent examination of the facts surrounding such claim to be made to determine the extent, if any, to which fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or exaggeration of any kind exists in the submission of the claim and the extent to which improper practices on the part of insurance companies contribute to or encourage the making of fraudulent or exaggerated claims, or result in fraud, misrepresentation or deceit on the part of such companies, leading to higher costs of insurance or public dissatisfaction with the insurance laws of the commonwealth. The board shall report its findings annually on or before December the first, to the governor and the attorney general, and may recommend legislation as in its judgment will best eliminate such fraud, deceit, misrepresentation or exaggeration, or improper practices as it finds exists. The board may submit interim reports at such other times as it deems necessary and shall report any violations of law which its investigations disclose to the attorney general, or to the proper district attorney who shall cause the offender to be prosecuted therefor.
The board, with the approval of the governor, may appoint and remove a chief of accident claims investigations. The board may expend for expenses and for such legal, investigative, clerical and other assistance such sums as may be appropriated therefor; provided, however, that all costs of administration and operation of said board shall be borne by liability insurance companies doing business within the commonwealth. The commissioner shall apportion such costs among all such companies and shall assess them for the same on a fair and reasonable basis. Investigators employed by the board shall have access to all records kept by the registry of motor vehicles and to such records kept by insurance companies as may be pertinent to the processing of such claims as are within the investigatory powers of the board.
Whoever is convicted of a fraudulent claim as a result of a court judgment shall automatically lose his privilege to operate a motor vehicle for a period of one year.