NICB’s “Hot Wheels” vs. the Highway Loss Data Institute’s “Theft Claims Rate” Reports

Each year the NICB publishes a report that identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in each state and the nation. Formally known as “Hot Wheels,” NICB’s report examines all vehicle theft reports taken by law enforcement around the nation and entered into the FBI-managed, National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database.

In preparation for Hot Wheels, an NICB analyst will collect all the valid theft reports from NCIC for a given year. The analyst then distills a list of the most stolen vehicles in the nation. It’s a simple equation: a vehicle theft report in NCIC gets counted as a vehicle theft by NICB.

Whether or not a stolen vehicle is insured makes no difference in the statistical tally produced by NICB. Indeed, most vehicles on the road today are not covered for theft (as the vehicle ages and decreases in value, many drivers choose to drop their theft coverage). So any analysis of stolen vehicles that uses only insurance claims as a dataset will produce a vastly different report.

Our good friends at the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) have been developing their own list over the past several years and the recent headlines generated by their report caused some confusion. The HLDI news release carried the headline, “Ford F-250 has highest theft rate of any 2010-12 vehicle” and then went on to say, “The Ford F-250 has replaced the Cadillac Escalade as the favorite target of thieves, the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) reports. New anti-theft technology on the Escalade, as well as its waning popularity, are two likely reasons the luxury SUV has fallen from first to sixth place in the ranking of vehicles with the highest rates of insurance claims for theft.”

Herein lies the confusion. Many of the media headlines said something like, “Ford Pickup Truck Tops Among Thieves,” which is true only if you’re looking at insured vehicle theft claims for 2010-2012 models year…not necessarily actual thefts of the vehicles…and not thefts of uninsured vehicles.

To make it on the NICB most stolen vehicle list, a vehicle has to be stolen—the entire vehicle. To be included in HLDI’s analysis, an insurance theft claim must be filed, but the theft item could be a mirror from a Ford F-250 and nothing more. Get the picture?

So context is important.

As for our Hot Wheels report for 2012, it is being prepared and should be released in the next few weeks.

NICB People, Passion, Purpose – Part IV

Did you know that analytical units are one of the fastest growing units within the insurance industry today?

NICB’s Data Analytics team is a dynamic group comprised of strategic, tactical, and statistical analysts, who each wear a variety of hats.

Tactical analysts coordinate with case agents to tailor analytical support for each individual case’s needs. Strategic analysts mine vast datasets to identify significant claim activity indicative of fraud for investigation by both NICB and its individual members. Statistical analysts compile national campaigns such as the NICB ‘Hot Wheels’ and ‘Hot Spots’ reports, in addition to providing the individual Member Benefit reports.

Our team is fortunate to have direct contact with our members and strives for two way communication to ensure we provide quality work products for all we serve. Our department contributes to the majority of what is published by NICB, not only for members, but the public as well. Chances are, if there is a report or presentation with data, graphs, charts, or maps, Data Analytics was involved. In today’s world, advanced technology has led to new ways to commit fraud. Our analysts are technically savvy, and continually evolve their skills to identify new groups and new fraud trends as they emerge. Having been with NICB 13 years, I have seen a lot of change in the way we combat fraud. I consider myself lucky to be a part of today’s team of analysts. They are bright and committed, and watch out fraudsters. They are also very determined.