Special Investigations Unit (SIU)
The Special Investigations Unit was created by the Washington State Legislature in accordance to RCW 48.135.020 (www.leg.wa.gov). An advisory board of representatives from the insurance industry, consumers, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, county prosecutors, and law enforcement, was created to oversee the unit and advise the insurance commissioner of its progress.
Under RCW 48.135.100 (www.leg.wa.gov), the commissioner is tasked to periodically report the fraud program's activities to the Legislature. This 2015 Report to the Legislature includes but is not limited to an overview of the fraud program's cases referred for prosecution, the number of convictions obtained, the amount of money recovered and any recommendations of the insurance fraud advisory board from 2012 to 2014.
The mission of SIU is to identify and investigate for prosecution criminal organizations and individuals engaged in fraud schemes that target insurance companies.
SIU detectives are certified law-enforcement peace officers with authority to conduct criminal investigations, arrest suspects and submit cases to prosecutors for charges involving fraudulent activities against insurance companies. The unit shares information with federal, state and local law-enforcement officials, insurance companies, and regulatory agencies that investigate insurance fraud and scams. The unit investigates medical fraud, staged auto collisions, property, bogus bodily injury claims, and other types of fraud.
SIU investigates instances of criminal fraud in Washington state, receiving an average of 200 referrals per month. Fraud tips and referrals come from:
- The general public,
- Law-enforcement agencies,
- The National Insurance Crime Bureau and its member companies,
- The National Association of Insurance Commissioners,
- The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) employees, and
- The Washington State Attorney General's Office.
Through the OIC's collaborative efforts with law enforcement, other governmental agencies and the insurance industry, SIU opens a variety of criminal investigations each year. These cases have been successfully prosecuted and have resulted in multiple felony convictions, restitution ordered, as well as monetary loss prevented. Please refer to OIC news releases for details on specific criminal cases.
The unit also works to discourage future attempts at fraud, protecting and informing consumers about the nature and prevention of insurance fraud.
Citizens are also encouraged to view SIU's Most-Wanted list and help identify individuals wanted for insurance fraud.
SIU's director speaks frequently at events to help increase awareness of insurance fraud and how to avoid it. Presentations are expressly designed for civic groups, chambers of commerce, and members of the insurance industry.
We also make presentations to the public, private organizations, law enforcement, fire investigators and government agencies.