Ben Olejnik Promoted to Fraud Bureau Chief
Des Moines, Iowa – Iowa Insurance Commissioner Doug Ommen today announced that Ben Olejnik has been promoted to Fraud Bureau Chief.
“I’m happy to have someone as dedicated and talented as Ben leading our fraud team,” Ommen said. “Everyone pays for insurance fraud and Ben will help ensure that those defrauding the insurance system or consumers are held accountable.”
“I am honored to serve Iowans through this very rewarding work,” Olejnik said. “I am privileged to lead a talented team of law enforcement officers dedicated to rooting out fraud and getting cases to prosecutors. This public service is beneficial to both Iowa consumers and businesses.”
Olejnik has served as a law enforcement officer in the Iowa Insurance Division’s Fraud Bureau since 2017. Olejnik previously served as a police officer for the Iowa State University Police Department and as an auditor at the Iowa State University Office of Internal Audit.
The Insurance Fraud Bureau of the Iowa Insurance Division...
is charged with investigating financial crimes in violation of the insurance laws of the State of Iowa. The Bureau is staffed by full time law enforcement officers and is led by Bureau Chief Jared Kirby. Fraud Bureau investigators are trained to investigate referrals covering all lines of insurance, including but not limited to auto, property & casualty, life, healthcare, workers compensation, and disability.
During calendar year 2018, the Fraud Bureau received 1047 referrals of Insurance Fraud from multiple sources including insurance companies, the National Insurance Crime Bureau, law enforcement, fire marshalls, other state government entities, and concerned citizens. Even with only 8% of the referrals reporting a known value of loss*, the financial impact reported was a loss of over $2.3 million dollars. Through the efforts of insurance company investigators and staff, an additional $5.4 million in fraudulent claim payments was prevented.
In 2018, Central Iowa sustained two catastrophic events. The first was a flood which occurred on the evening of June 30 in Des Moines, Urbandale, and Johnston causing substantial damage to homes and automobiles in the area. The second was a string of tornadic activity on July 19 which caused significant damage in the cities of Marshalltown, Bondurant, and Pella. Both events triggered multiple referrals of insurance fraud which were thoroughly investigated by the
Fraud Bureau in an effort to prevent future schemes considered by individuals seeking to take advantage of these tragic events.
Insurance fraud was not isolated to any specific geographic region of the state. Of Iowa’s 99 counties, 93 had referrals of insurance fraud taking place. Polk county led all others with 206 referrals, with Scott and Linn county following with 87 and 85 referrals respectively.
In 2018, auto claims made up the bulk of referrals to the Fraud Bureau. Most of these involved the purchase or attempted purchase of insurance coverage after a loss or turning in existing damage as new. Property and Casualty claims were in close second, mostly involving inflated item values following a loss and losses that did not occur in the first place.
Any Iowans who wish to report possible insurance fraud or have questions about what constitutes fraud should contact the Fraud Bureau at (515) 242-5304 or via email at Fraud@IID.Iowa.Gov.
*Approximately 8% of referrals contained loss amounts associated with them. The majority of referrals did not report loss because it
was either not known at the time of referral or the reporting party chose not to disclose pending additional investigation.