In 1990, a congressional subcommittee warned of 'financial knaves and buccaneers' in the insurance industry unlicensed and largely unregulated companies that operate out of countries like Antigua and the Cayman Islands and sell hundreds of millions of dollars in worthless insurance policies to unsuspecting Americans every year. Increasingly, when a fire, car accident, or medical emergency strikes, policyholders suddenly find themselves victims of a global con game as phone calls are not returned and claim settlements fail to materialize, resulting in financial ruin if not physical harm.
Robert Tillman portrays the often surreal world of the burgeoning offshore insurance industry; a world in which sophisticated white collar criminals operate beyond the reach of government regulators to set up elaborately orchestrated scams that drain illegal profits out of the $3 trillion U.S. insurance market. He also describes how the new global economy allows these scam artists to take advantage of rapidly changing financial markets and the regulatory environments that surround them.
Drawing on congressional hearings, court documents, published articles, and interviews with law enforcement officials, Tillman uses numerous case studies to illustrate degrees of insurance fraud: simply ignoring auto, medical liability, and worker compensation claims while citing NAFTA exemptions to local regulations; selling bogus policies to businesses in 'redlined,' low income neighborhoods and to high risk drivers abandoned by legitimate auto insurers; and falsifying multinational subsidiaries, assets, and even identities of company principals. He examines how 'fantasy islands' are created, explores emerging connections between offshore entities and money laundering, drug cartels, and organized crime, and discusses how outlaw insurers evade prosecution by setting up complex financial networks that crisscross national boundaries.
Tillman's timely analysis of this rapidly growing transnational criminal activity concludes with solid recommendations for steps that governments can take to protect their citizens from global insurance fraud.