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INSURANCE DEPARTMENT TOUGHENS FRAUD UNIT; NEW DIRECTOR NAMED; NEW STANDARDS ANNOUNCED

 RALEIGH, N.C., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Insurance Commissioner Jim Long today announced major changes in the department's Investigations Division, including a new division head and improvements in management techniques.
 "Insurance fraud robs all the hard-working citizens of our state and we're committed to stopping that theft," said Long. "Therefore, I am extremely pleased to announce the appointment of William C. Billy' Creel as the department's Director of Investigations."
 Creel, a State Bureau of Investigation agent, has been assigned to the Attorney General's office as Deputy Director of the Medicaid Fraud Unit. Under Creel, the unit was awarded the U.S. Inspector General's State Fraud Award for their effectiveness in combating Medicaid fraud.
 "Billy brings to the Investigations Division a wealth of relevant experience and an outstanding reputation as a tenacious and effective fraud-fighter," said Long.
 State Bureau of Investigations Director James J. Coman, who previously supervised Creel's direction of the Medicaid Fraud Unit, described him as "a professional with a proven ability to fight white- collar crime. His integrity is beyond reproach," said Coman, "and I am sure that he will do an excellent job as Director of Investigations."
 Said Long: "To be fully effective, insurance fraud investigations must combine skills in law enforcement, insurance accounting, and the growing computerization' of insurance fraud. As head of the Medicaid Fraud Unit, Billy has demonstrated the effectiveness of this team concept.
 "The Department of Insurance has since last July been working with independent management consultants to effect a complete overhaul of our Investigations Division. Our aim was to make the unit more effective in detecting and investigating fraud and assisting in its prosecution. Billy Creel will bring these changes on line,'" said Long.
 Long said the department is implementing an organizational structure that will make best use of existing personnel and has devised new management reporting tools that will provide tight accountability in the use of state funds.
 "Insurance fraud is now estimated to cost our citizens between ten and twenty-four cents of every premium dollar paid. As insurance costs rise, especially those related to health care, it's imperative that state regulators do all we can to reduce the inflationary impact of fraud," said Long.
 "I'm very pleased to join the department," said Creel. "I believe that this unit has tremendous potential. My goals are to revitalize the division, increase accountability in the use of taxpayer dollars, expand the department's ability to respond to computer-related insurance crimes, and implement an organizational structure which will support these objectives."
 -0- 2/23/93
 /CONTACT: Paul Mahoney, N.C. Department of Insurance, 919-733-5238/


CO: N.C. Department of Insurance ST: North Carolina IN: INS SU: PER RCN

CM -- CH013 -- 9621 02/23/93 17:24 EST
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Date:Feb 23, 1993
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