In the insurance industry, the term “sliding” refers to the practice of insurance agents or brokers including additional coverage or services that a customer did not request or need, without disclosing the added costs. Sliding can occur in various types of insurance policies, including auto, home, life, and health insurance. This unethical and illegal practice violates insurance laws and regulations and can result in severe penalties for the agent or broker and the insurance company.
How Sliding Occurs Sliding can occur in different ways. In some cases, an agent or broker may tell a customer that a particular coverage is mandatory or required by law, when in reality it is optional. The agent or broker may add optional services, such as roadside assistance or rental car coverage, without the customer’s knowledge or consent. The customer only discovers the additional charges when the bill arrives or when they file a claim.
In other cases, an agent or broker may use high-pressure sales tactics or misleading information to convince a customer to purchase more insurance coverage than they need. They may exaggerate the risks or consequences of not having certain types of coverage, or make false promises of lower premiums or discounts in exchange for buying additional coverage. Some agents or brokers may even forge a customer’s signature or falsify application documents to add coverage without the customer’s knowledge.
The Effects of Sliding Sliding can have several negative effects on customers and the insurance industry. Firstly, it can lead to financial harm for the customer, who may end up paying for coverage they do not need or want. This can cause a financial burden and lead to decreased trust in the insurance industry. Customers who feel they have been the victim of sliding may also be less likely to purchase insurance in the future or refer their friends and family to the company.
Additionally, sliding can damage the reputation of insurance companies and the agents and brokers who engage in the practice. Customers who feel deceived or manipulated are likely to leave negative reviews or complain to regulatory agencies, leading to decreased business and potential legal consequences. Insurance companies and agents who engage in sliding may also face fines, license revocation, or even criminal charges for fraudulent activity.
Preventing Sliding To prevent sliding, insurance companies must enforce strict policies and procedures to ensure their agents and brokers comply with state and federal regulations. These policies should include mandatory training for agents and brokers, clear disclosure requirements, and regular monitoring and audits of sales practices. Insurance companies should also establish clear reporting mechanisms for customers to report suspected sliding or other unethical behavior.
Customers can also protect themselves from sliding by doing their research and understanding their insurance policies and coverage options. They should always ask for a written copy of their policy and review it carefully before signing. If an agent or broker tries to add coverage without the customer’s knowledge or consent, the customer should refuse to sign and report the incident to the insurance company and regulatory agencies.
In conclusion, sliding is an unethical and illegal practice that can harm customers and damage the reputation of the insurance industry. Insurance companies, agents, and brokers must work together to prevent sliding by enforcing strict policies and procedures and promoting transparency and ethical sales practices. Customers must also be vigilant and educated about their insurance policies to protect themselves from potential sliding or other fraudulent activities.
The example of “insurance sliding” demonstrates the importance of bringing illicit insurance business practises into conversations about fraud.
Insurance agents use the unscrupulous and dishonest technique of “insurance sliding” to their clients’ harm.
Sliding is defined as follows by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services of the State of Michigan:
The failure of an agent to properly disclose all the information regarding, and get informed permission for, the purchase of all goods and services included in an insurance transaction.
Issues emerge when the final cost turns out to be more than anticipated as a result of failing to inform the customer of all fees connected with the insurance premium.
Insurance sliding examples include:
- falsely stating that a person’s insurance plan includes roadside assistance when it does not.
- making the false claim that roadside assistance is required when buying auto insurance in Michigan.
- claiming that, in addition to the purchase of insurance, extra coverages are necessary when they are not.
- omitting to disclose, detail, or otherwise make clear all the coverages included in an insurance policy and their associated costs.
- not correctly disclosing the insurance coverage’s true cost.
- charging an applicant for insurance for services other than the insurance policy being bought without the applicant’s agreement.
- These are by no means the only instances of insurance sliding. They just serve as examples of the phenomena.
- Actions against those who engage in insurance sliding may be taken by the director of the Department of Insurance and Financial Services. The penalty may consist of a fine, probation, a suspension or revocation of the relevant licence, or all three.
A person who is found to participate in “fraudulent, coercive, or dishonest acts or exhibiting incompetence, untrustworthiness, or financial irresponsibility in the operation of the business in this state or elsewhere” will be punished, according to MCL 500.1239(1)(h).
The Michigan no-fault insurance system has been the subject of significant discussion in recent years due to fraud. The insurance sector has been fast to identify instances where doctors and attorneys have tried to game the system. The no-fault law, which has aided thousands of people wounded in Michigan auto accidents, has been eliminated by the industry using the bad behavior of a select few as justification.
What about the fraud committed against Michigan consumers by insurance firms and their agents, according to bulletins published by the Department of Insurance and Financial Services?
In response to this query, Lansing and Grand Rapids car accident lawyers Steve Sinas and Tom Sinas produced a piece for Bridge Magazine titled “Abuse of no-fault law happens on both sides, affects victims.” The article draws attention to the fact that insurance adjusters are known for conspiring with doctors to deny valid no-fault claims in order to protect the company’s bottom line. This is frequently done via a process known as the independent medical examination (IME):
“Adjusters will also schedule phony independent medical exams for victims. Doctors who work primarily for insurance companies rather than treating patients perform these checks far too frequently. In fact, recent legal actions have revealed that a large number of these physicians do hundreds or perhaps thousands of insurance-company examinations annually. It should come as no surprise that these physicians frequently ignore the victim’s medical providers’ advice and reach judgments that the adjuster utilizes to stop further medical care. Regrettably, throughout the past few decades, the Michigan Legislature has done little to further protect Michigan citizens from this type of insurance corporate behavior.
This kind of conduct is not acceptable in the opinion of the Sinas Dramis Law Firm. And as customers in Michigan, you shouldn’t either.
The Michigan auto insurance industry needs to stand up and accept accountability for its own dubious activities if we are to have a meaningful conversation about insurance fraud. All Michigan customers would be seriously harmed by not doing this.
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