Solutions For Fraudulent PIRP Activity
Before we examine solutions for PIRP fraud ( PIRP is the acronym for the New York State-approved Point / Insurance Reduction Program), I’d like to review some of the problems, both real and potential, for people getting credit for classes they never took.
- New York State licensed drivers who are the primary operators of a motor vehicle, receive a minimum 10% discount on their automobile insurance. These discounts are in a real sense a reward for supposedly improved knowledge of New York State vehicle and traffic laws, and safe driving techniques. When combined, these increased skill sets should, in the words of Empire Safety Council, one of New York State’s leading PIRP class providers, help drivers, “Survive the driving experience.”
- Drivers who would otherwise lose their licenses continue to drive on our streets and highways. Their poor attitudes towards the responsible operation of a motor vehicle, not modified through actual class attendance and participation creates an even greater threat with their feeling of having “beaten the system.” Tell you what, I’d really like to know how many yellow taxi and livery car drivers actually take the PIRP classes they must complete every two years. I know I’d feel a lot better if they actually sat through a class, and didn’t just do a “walk in and walk out” class.
Both scenarios are, in a word, frightening. Should fraudulent activity in the program continue, there is the real possibility New York State could make attending PIRP classes every three years a requirement for enjoying the privilege of being a NYS licensed driver. Without any accompanying discounts or point reduction. And, with you paying for the classes out-of-pocket.
Now, don’t scoff at the idea the state could do just that. As a licensed NYS insurance agent and broker, I must complete 15 hours of continuing education , either through self-study or actual classroom attendance, every two years. Should I fail to do so, I will lose my licenses.
As an Income Tax Preparer, I must now complete 15 hours of income tax continuing education every year to qualify for my federal Preparer Tax Identification Number (PTIN). On top of this, I must study for and pass an exam to become a Registered Tax Return Preparer (RTRP), no later than December 31, 2013, or else I can no longer prepare income tax returns.
And yes, I pay, or will pay out-of-pocket for all the above.
So don’t think for a second we can’t lose this valuable means of legitimately lowering our premiums and reducing points on our NYS drivers licenses.
Hey, Wait A Minute. Didn’t You Promise Some Solutions?
Why, indeed I did. Here are a few solutions for PIRP fraud.
- Submit photocopies of each participant’s NYS drivers license in the package sent to the program providers.
- Require a group photograph of each class. And don’t try to tell me anyone’s camera-shy, or you can’t figure out how to use the time feature on your camera.
- Increase the number of random calls made to listed class participants of every class. Ask them “What do you remember about Mr. Jones?”, or “What did you think of the office decor?’, or “Where did you eat lunch?”, or “Who did you eat lunch with?”
- Increase spot checks to ensure classes are actually being conducted.
- Employ “shoppers” whose express purpose is to attend random classes and assess the content and conduct of each instructor.
- Increase the financial penalties for those Delivery Agents and Instructors who engage in fraudulent PIRP activities. And send some to jail, with the loss of every other state or federal license they now hold. You’d have to be a durn fool to risk everything for a few measly dollars.
- Finally, I’d impose severe penalties on those drivers who participate in any fraudulent PIRP activities. Again, fines and possible jail time should stop those looking for a “quick fix” for their auto insurance woes.
When enacted, you’d realize an immediate decrease in the number of student completions. It might hurt the pocketbooks of the state, and provider agencies for a time. In the long run, however, we’d all enjoy safer roads, better able to “survive the driving experience.”
And, with all the people necessary for enforcement, we could solve a good part of the jobless problem here in New York
Until my next post, make every day an outstanding day.