Aerial Imagery from Harvey and Irma Available to Public

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) announced today that it will make available to the public high-resolution aerial imagery of areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. By going to this link and typing in an address, a before-and-after comparison will be available if the property is in an affected area that has been surveyed from the air. Harvey damage is available and imagery from Irma will be posted when available.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), whose member companies write over 80 percent of all property/casualty insurance and over 90 percent of all auto insurance in the country, has been developing a system that leverages its ability to rapidly respond to catastrophes.  The system utilizes a full array of digital imagery, both on the ground and in the air, which will provide high-resolution views of properties on an address-by-address level to assess the damage.

NICB and its partners now have the capability to gather before-and-after street level and aerial views of impacted areas, and provide that information in a platform that insurers can incorporate into their existing systems to quickly view and assess damage to their policyholders’ homes, businesses and even vehicles. This same imagery will be provided at no cost to emergency personnel to assist them in their response efforts. The information will also be invaluable in fighting fraud in the aftermath of a disaster.

NICB is working with partners, such as Vexcel Imaging, the premier aerial imaging company worldwide, and Esri, the global provider of GIS mapping and spatial analytics software. NICB has created the Geospatial Intelligence Center to oversee these efforts. Eventually, the plan would be to do imaging on the ground and in the air in some 100 markets on a regular basis, and being able to respond immediately on a 24/7 basis when a catastrophe strikes to provide comparisons that will assist in damage assessment.

“This technology takes the industry response to a catastrophe to a whole new level,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “The response to our initiative has been overwhelmingly positive based on feedback I have received during my meetings with emergency personnel, law enforcement and our insurance company members in Texas. We believe it is also important to share this with those who have been impacted by the Hurricanes.”

NICB’s long history of a strong working relationship with emergency and law enforcement personnel has made this possible. The Texas Department of Public Safety and other local and federal officials have enthusiastically supported this effort, and provided NICB with access and support during the Harvey response.

For an in-depth look at this program, click here to watch our video.

Beware Harvey Flood-Damaged Vehicles

Flooded cars near the Addicks Reservoir in Houston, TX. (David J. Phillip, File/Associated Press)

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is warning the nation’s consumers that vehicles flooded by Hurricane Harvey may soon be appearing for sale around the nation.

After a disaster, NICB works with its member companies, law enforcement and auto auction companies to identify the vehicles that have had an insurance claim filed and to process them for sale. All of the cars, deemed to be a total loss, will be retitled with the Department of Motor Vehicles and the new title will indicate the fact that the vehicle has been flood damaged. Most of the vehicles are sold to parts’ companies who will dismantle them and re-sell usable parts that were not damaged by the flooding.

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is also entered into the NICB’s VINCheck® and the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System (NMVTIS) database.

NICB’s VINCheck allows car buyers to see whether a vehicle has ever been declared as “salvage” or a total loss by an NICB member that participates in the program. Insurers representing about 88 percent of the personal auto insurance market provide their salvage data to the program. It also alerts users if a vehicle has been stolen and is still unrecovered. VINCheck is a free public service available at: www.nicb.org/vincheck.

Keeping damaged cars out of the hands of unsuspecting buyers is a major focus of the industry. Unfortunately, some of the flooded vehicles may be purchased at bargain prices, cleaned up, and then taken out of state where the VIN is switched and the car is retitled with no indication it has been damaged.

NICB warns that buyers be particularly careful in the coming weeks and months as thousands of Harvey-damaged vehicles may reappear for sale in their areas. Vehicles that were not insured may be cleaned up and put up for sale by the owner or an unscrupulous dealer with no disclosure of the flood damage.

Buyers should have a vehicle checked by a reputable mechanic or repair facility before handing over any cash.

Consumer Resources

Images of Hurricane Harvey’s Damage

The following images were sent in by NICB personnel affected by the storms in Texas.

Continue reading

Hurricane Harvey Victims: Avoid Post-Disaster Scams

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is working with law enforcement agencies, the state departments of insurance and insurance companies to warn victims about post-disaster rebuilding scams.

After a disaster, contractors will often go door-to-door in neighborhoods that have sustained damage to offer clean up and/or construction and repair services. Most of these people are reputable, but many are not. The dishonest ones may execute schemes to defraud innocent victims. One common scheme is to pocket the payment and never show up for the job, or never complete a job that was started. Another scheme is to use inferior materials and perform shoddy work that is not up to code in order to pocket more profit. Continue reading

NICB in the News: Purse-Snatching, Vehicle Thefts and Used Car Buying

(lohud.com)Man swiped purse from Bronxville church-goer

A 34-year-old Bronx man faces charges after police say he distracted a Bronxville church-goer in order to steal her purse.

Anton Nrecaj was arrested on Friday and charged with fourth-degree grand larceny, a felony, in connection with the July 11 incident at the Church of Saint Joseph, Bronxville police said.

Read the full story here.


(Journal-Advocate)Increase in car theft prompts “Lockdown Your Car” campaign

In observance of National Auto Theft Prevention Month, Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) is launching a statewide public awareness campaign, reminding drivers about the importance of not making themselves an easy target for car thieves. The “Lockdown Your Car” campaign informs the public about the domino effect that often occurs when a car is left unlocked.

Read more here.


(KPNX-TV)Make sure you do your homework before buying a used car

Used car salesman tactics have been the butt of jokes for years, and chances are you’ve probably heard some horror stories. But don’t let that stop you from buying a used car.

Consumer Reports has some great tips to help protect you from buying a dud. And some of these tips can also come in handy if you’re buying a new car.

View the video here.

 

NICB in the News: Staged Accidents, Severe Storms and Airbag Thefts

(The Bulletin) Norwich man sentenced for his role in car insurance fraud scheme

NEW HAVEN — A Norwich man was sentenced Friday in federal court to 100 days in prison followed by three years of supervised release for his role in an insurance fraud scheme.

Frandy Dugue, 40, known as Jimmy, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Alker Meyer in New Haven.

According to court documents and statements made in court, between April 2011 and April 2014, Dugue and others conspired to stage approximately 50 car crashes in Eastern Connecticut for the purpose of defrauding automobile insurance companies.

Read the full story here.


(USAgNet)Following Severe Weather, Beware of Scams

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine warned consumers to beware of scams following the severe weather that hit Ohio this past week. Continue reading

NICB in the News: Most Stolen Vehicles in 2016

(NY Post) Why these are the most stolen cars in America

Car thieves covet 20-year-old Hondas more than any other vehicle in the country.

According to the most recent data compiled by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), the 1997 Accord and 1998 Civic were the most stolen cars nationwide in 2016.

Read the full story here.


(Claims Journal)NICB Releases Latest Hot Wheels Theft Report

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) released its annual Hot Wheels report which identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2016.

Included with today’s release is a list of the top 25 2016 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2016.

Read the full story here.


(Cars.com)Do You Drive One of the Most Stolen Cars?

At this point, owners of 20-year-old Honda Accords must be getting sick of “Have you checked the garage recently?” jokes. According to a just-released report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Honda Accord topped the list of most stolen vehicles for the ninth year in a row — with the 1997 model year of the perennial best-seller proving most popular among theives.

Read the full story here.


(KNBC) – NICB’s Hot Wheels Report

 

 

Hot Wheels: America’s 10 Most Stolen Vehicles

DES PLAINES, Ill. – The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) today released its annual Hot Wheels report which identifies the 10 most stolen vehicles in the United States. The report examines vehicle theft data submitted by law enforcement to the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) and determines the vehicle make, model and model year most reported stolen in 2016.

Included with today’s release is a list of the top 25 2016 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2016.

While Honda Accords and Civics dominate this annual list, they are older, pre-“smart key” production models. Since the introduction of smart keys and other anti-theft technology, Honda thefts have fallen precipitously. As the list of top 25 most stolen 2016 model year vehicles shows, there were only 493 thefts of Accords last year.

Technology is working, but complacency can defeat it. While thefts are down dramatically since their all-time high in 1992, thousands of vehicles continue to be stolen each year because owners leave their keys or fobs in the vehicles and that invites theft.

For 2016, the most stolen vehicles* in the nation were:

See the national report here, the state report here, an infographic here and video here.

The following are the top 10 2016 model year vehicles stolen during calendar year 2016:

Download the complete list of 2016’s top 25 most stolen from this spreadsheet.

“The increase in vehicle thefts over the past two years should be a reminder that drivers must do their part to protect their vehicles,” said NICB President and CEO Joe Wehrle. “Anti-theft systems in newer model cars and trucks are excellent, but they don’t work if you don’t use them. Far too many thefts occur because the vehicle is left unlocked and the key or fob is inside. Taking the time to lock it up every time you leave it can save a whole lot of headache and expense in the long run.”

Vehicle theft is a severe economic hardship for its victims—especially if a vehicle is uninsured. That is why NICB continues to advise all drivers to review our four “Layers of Protection”:

    • Common Sense: Lock your car and take your keys. It’s simple enough, but many thefts occur because owners make it easy for thieves to steal their cars.
    • Warning Device: Having and using a visible or audible warning device is another item that can ensure that your car remains where you left it.
    • Immobilizing Device: Generally speaking, if your vehicle can’t be started, it can’t be stolen. “Kill” switches, fuel cut-offs and smart keys are among the devices that are extremely effective.
    • Tracking Device: A tracking device emits a signal to the police or to a monitoring station when the vehicle is stolen. Tracking devices are very effective in helping authorities recover stolen vehicles. Some systems employ “telematics,” which combine GPS and wireless technologies to allow remote monitoring of a vehicle. If the vehicle is moved, the system will alert the owner and the vehicle can be tracked via computer.

Considering a used vehicle purchase? Check out VINCheckSM, a free vehicle history service for consumers. Since 2005, NICB has offered this limited service made possible by its participating member companies. Check it out at: www.nicb.org/vincheck.

*This report reflects stolen vehicle data contained in NCIC and present in the “NCIC mirror image” when accessed by NICB on March 23, 2017. NCIC records may contain errors based on inaccurate entries submitted by reporting agencies. Full size pickups include half ton and larger capacity models for all makes.

Watercraft Thefts Up in 2016

Reflecting a similar experience with vehicles, the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) annual watercraft theft report shows a one percent increase in watercraft theft in 2016, reversing a multi-year downward trend. A total of 5,116 watercraft were reported stolen between January 1 and December 31, 2016. The report is based on theft data contained in the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

The top five states for thefts in descending order were:

The top five cities for thefts in descending order were:

The top five types of watercraft stolen were:

The top five manufacturers for watercraft thefts were:

Most thefts in 2016 occurred during the spring and summer months with July recording the highest number with 671. February recorded the fewest with 223.

Download the complete watercraft report and an infographic.

Boat owners are reminded to practice safe and smart boating. That includes personal safety while on the water, as well as theft prevention.

NICB recommends the following tips to protect your watercraft from theft:

  • When you “dock it, lock it” and secure it to the dock with a steel cable
  • Remove expensive equipment when not in use
  • Chain and lock detachable motors to the boat
  • Do not leave title or registration papers in the craft
  • Disable the craft by shutting fuel lines or removing batteries
  • Use a trailer hitch lock after parking a boat on its trailer
  • Install a kill switch in the ignition system
  • Ensure your marine insurance policy includes your equipment, boat and trailer
  • Take photos of the boat and mark it with a Hull Identification Number (HIN)

More anti-theft information can be found in our boat theft brochure.

* Described below are the 13 watercraft types as found in the NCIC code manual, one of which is “Jet Ski”—NCIC’s universal name for all personal watercraft without regard to manufacturer. Jet Ski is also the registered trademark for Kawasaki Motor Corporation’s line of personal watercraft.

Airboat: not defined
Commercial: ferry, oyster boat, motor barge, towboat, tug, clam dredge, coaster, riverboat, smack boat, etc.
Cruiser: a boat with an inboard motor that is at least 25 feet long, but no longer than 50 feet
Houseboat: not defined
Hovercraft: not defined
Hydrofoil: not defined
Hydroplane: not defined
Jet-Ski (PWC): aqua bike
Runabout: launch, motorboat, outrider, speedboat, etc.
Sailboat: cat, catamaran, cutter, bark, ketch, lateen, lugger, pinnace, schooner, sloop, yawl, etc.
Utility: fisherman, sedan, etc.
Yacht: a boat with an inboard motor that is more than 50 feet long and is used mainly for pleasure or recreation
All other: canoe, dinghy, dory, johnboat, kayak, lifeboat, paddleboat, rowboat, skull, skiff, etc.

**In 2003, Bombardier Corp. sold off its recreational products division. The Sea-Doo personal watercraft is now produced by Bombardier Recreational Products, Inc. Thus, the 383 thefts would include pre-2003 models.