Florida Insurance Fraud Education Committee (FIFEC) Nominates Colodny Fass Shareholder Maria Elena Abate as 'Insurance Defense Attorney of the Year'
Date Published: 06-16-2017
Bestowed with a landmark recognition at a milestone insurance industry event, Colodny Fass Shareholder Maria Elena Abate was one of five venerable fraud-fighters nominated as "Insurance Defense Attorney of the Year," at the recent Florida Insurance Fraud Education Committee's (FIFEC's) 25th Anniversary Conference.
The three-day event, held jointly in Orlando on June 7-9, 2017 with the Florida Division of Investigative and Forensic Services, drew representatives and anti-fraud personnel from major insurers, investigative entities, law enforcement personnel, financial companies and others with a stake in preventing the major losses perpetrated by an array of elaborate crime schemes-all designed to fleece the insurance industry with an ultimate cost to policyholders.
Ms. Abate, who has been consistently active with FIFEC, has become a trusted resource for those seeking to rid the state of its dubious reputation as the insurance fraud capital of the nation. In additional to regularly lecturing and instructing, she has been called upon to serve on industry workshop panels, and in an advisory and training capacity to insurance companies, agents and their employees to help eradicate fraud through education and communication.
Together with Mariela Perez-Pennock, Special Investigative Manager for Olympus Insurance, Ms. Abate also taught a class at the event, explaining the fundamental differences between identity theft and identity fraud, and how both affect insurance claims-particularly in regard to the growing scourge of cyber crime.
Their presentation is attached for review.
Insurance policies aren't what most people think of when it comes to identity theft or fraud, but Ms. Abate and Ms. Pennock called attention to the problem of insurance industry "ghosts"--people who use fictitious identities to obtain insurance policies or certain transactions to secure claims payments or other profit--and detailed the difference between identity theft and identity fraud, along with steps that insurers can take to train representatives and agents on how to detect a "ghost."
Rampant in organized auto insurance fraud, for example, "ghosts" will steal the identities of legitimate policyholders, create new identification documents based on certain information, apply for multiple insurance policies with different companies, then file claims with the various companies using different accident dates. Often complicit in the schemes will be body shops, other attorneys and medical providers.
Ms. Abate, who earned her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law, cum laude, has built her reputation and expertise in the areas of insurance fraud and defense, complex commercial litigation, bad faith and class action defense, as well as employment law and civil rights issues, serves as Managing Partner of Colodny Fass' decorated Litigation Division.
For the past three years, Ms. Abate has been part of the faculty at the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance School of Insurance Fraud.
Colodny Fass Lawyer Matt Scarfone Educates on Insurance Anti-Fraud Drone Use
Insurers can achieve superior vantage points, access, safety and better response time by utilizing drones in claims adjusting and fraud investigations, Colodny Fass Senior Attorney Matt Scarfone, who also presented at FIFEC during the 25th Anniversary Conference.
Mr. Scarfone, who focuses his practice on insurance defense litigation, was joined on the panel by Bracken Engineering Vice President Robin Davies and Olympus Insurance Company Director of Claims Operations Paul Clark.
Insurers have increasingly incorporated drones into their claims operations since the Federal Aviation Administration issued regulations for commercial drone use (known as Part 107).
With the advent of this new technology, however, comes some degree of legal uncertainty. The presentation sparked debate regarding the legal issues and potential privacy concerns that may arise when drones perform property inspections.
Should you have any questions or comments, please contact Colodny Fass.
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11770_FIFEC 2017 Identity Theft PowerPoint.pdf