Crime Spree Terrorizes NICB Headquarters

The following report is a spoof

DES PLAINES, IL – April 28, 2016 – A rash of burglaries at the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s (NICB) headquarters in Des Plaines, Illinois has employees and management on high alert. Today, the not-for-profit organization pressed on with their annual “Take Your Kid To Work Day” despite the threat of crime sprees in various departments.

The theme for today’s event was “Law Enforcement” and newly released footage from the company’s headquarters proves that NICB will continue to combat crime and fraud.

When I grow up I want to fight insurance fraud!

Or be a cowboy. Or a princess.

oopsy-daisy-when-i-grow-up-boys-2OK, while the cowboy and/or princess thing probably hasn’t happened for most of us, quite a few of us are engaged in the fight against insurance fraud. Some of us work in law enforcement, some at insurance companies, some for NICB and more.

If your company is a member of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), you have a wealth of fraud-fighting resources available to you. Why not take advantage of everything NICB has to offer?

  • NICB FraudSmart Training addresses the needs of insurance professionals from “newbies” to seasoned special investigators. We bring this classroom training right to you, so your staff doesn’t need to be away from the office and you don’t incur travel expenses. To schedule a FraudSmart class at your company, log into the NICB Website at www.NICB.org with your username and password, select Training, then FraudSmart and contact the training director assigned to your state.
  • All NICB members may purchase a NICTA (National Insurance Crime Training Academy) license that covers all of your employees for as many courses as they’d like to take. NICTA is available online 24/7 and has many courses available to help you and your staff fight insurance fraud as well as fulfill continuing education requirements. We encourage you to browse our full course list.
  • The NICB Document Download Center contains many training and job aids for member companies. Just follow the directions to log in or set up your nicbdocs.org account. (Note: Downloaded material must not be distributed or used outside of NICB member companies.)

To learn more about NICB, visit www.NICB.org.

 

NICB’s Hot Wheels: America’s 10 Most Stolen Vehicles

NICBHotWheelsSocialDES PLAINES, Ill., Aug. 18, 2014 — 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 2013.

Also in today’s release is a list of the top 25 2013 vehicle makes and models that were reported stolen in calendar year 2013.

For 2013, the most stolen vehicles* in the nation were (total thefts in parentheses):

1. Honda Accord (53,995)
2. Honda Civic (45,001)
3. Chevrolet Pickup (Full Size) (27,809)
4. Ford Pickup (Full Size) (26,494)
5. Toyota Camry (14,420)
6. Dodge Pickup (Full Size) (11,347)
7. Dodge Caravan (10,911)
8. Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee (9,272)
9. Toyota Corolla (9,010)
10. Nissan Altima (8,892)

Read the full press release.

All Aboard: The Significance of a HIN

It’s January. Right now, most of the country is hunkered down by the snow and blistering cold. For most of us in the colder regions of the country, warm weather may seem like the distant future. But regardless of where you reside, if you enjoy outdoor activities on the water, there’s something you need to keep in mind.

BoatShow1Recently, I joined colleagues from the NICB’s Manufacturers Information Group at the Boat, Sports & RV Show at McCormick Place in Chicago. The annual event is billed as a one-stop marketplace and provides outdoor enthusiasts and dreamers alike an opportunity to see the latest and greatest offerings. Prices run the gamut from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand, or over $1 million. Other watercrafts such as kayaks or Jet Skis offer an even lower price point.

But why is the NICB concerned about boats and other watercrafts, you might ask? Because, like many other investments and property, they may be targets for thieves and fraudulent schemes.

While the typical visitor may have been touring the boats in search of deals and features, we toured them in search of HINs (Hull Identification Numbers). Similar to automobiles, boats also have identification numbers placed on them by their manufacturers. These HINs contain characters and numbers, information that assists law enforcement in recovering stolen boats. Since August of 1972, every marine vessel that is made or imported for sale in the U.S. is required to have a HIN. We wanted to see where and how these HINs were placed, not for aesthetic reasons, but rather to assess how easily thieves might possibly remove or alter them.

A 2013 report by the NICB indicated that there were 5,780 watercraft thefts reported in 2012. That equates to about 16 thefts per day with the spring and summer months having the most active periods for thefts. So what, if anything, can be done to help guard against theft and fraud schemes?

The NICB and NMMA (National Marine Manufacturers Association) have partnered to create a boat database to enhance the efforts of the United States Coast Guard, law enforcement and NICB personnel to identify thefts and related fraudulent schemes.
Currently, the database contains over 661,000 boat records received directly from the boat manufacturers. Data collected include: year of manufacture; hull identification number (HIN); brand; model; length overall; hull material; propulsion type; fuel type; and vessel type. For investigative assistance, NICB Member Companies and law enforcement partners are encouraged to contact the NICB’s Investigative Assistance Group at 1-800-447-6282 x7002 or 847-544-7002.

For consumers, whether you spend $1,000 or several hundred thousand for your boat, it’s more than just a recreational craft. It’s an investment. Like any other investment, you need to protect it from theft. For more information on how to protect your boat, the NICB offers these helpful tips and video.

Smooth Sailing for NICB’s New Vessel Information Database

Recent statistics reveal that each month more than 500 vessels are stolen in the United States costing boat owners and their insurers millions of dollars annually. In turn, boat thieves often sell these stolen vessels to unsuspecting consumers for a large profit. But a newly-created database of vessel hull identification numbers (HIN) will enhance the efforts of the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG), law enforcement personnel and the NICB to prevent, detect and report marine thefts and insurance fraud.

Before the creation of the database, law enforcement had to contact the particular boat manufacturer to verify watercraft information. Now, this new tool will streamline the access that law enforcement officials and insurers have to important identification information. The database will also serve the USCG in their work to accurately report and record on-water accidents. Boaters themselves will benefit from this improved system through speedier vessel identification and recovery in cases of theft.
The data that NICB is collecting from boat manufacturers includes:

  • Hull identification number (HIN)
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Year of manufacture
  • Overall length
  • Hull material
  • Propulsion type
  • Fuel type
  • Vessel type

Some records may also contain component serial numbers, which can further assist law enforcement and the NICB with vessel identification. NICB is also collecting hidden HIN numbers.

The database, a joint effort between NICB and the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA), went into production in August 2012, with Brunswick Boat Group, Grady White and Forever Resorts as beta testers. They also helped define the best information for inclusion in the database. NICB will serve as the repository for this information and will maintain the data on a proprietary basis at no cost to NMMA or its members.

In addition to the manufacturers, the database was supported by the International Association of Marine Investigators (IAMI), BoatUS, and the National Association of Boating Law Administrators.

At present, the database contains over 661,000 boat records received directly from the following boat manufacturers:

  • Bayliner Marine
  • Boston Whaler
  • Brunswick Commercial and Government Products
  • Cabo Yachts
  • Crestliner
  • Formula
  • Fun Country Marine
  • Grady-White Boats
  • Harris Flotebote
  • Lowe Boats
  • Lund Boats
  • Manitou
  • Meridian
  • Nautique
  • Regulator
  • Scout Boats
  • Sea Ray
  • Stingray
  • Triton Aluminum
  • Trophy Sportfishing Boats

In less than a year, we have grown from an initial test phase with three manufacturers to nine manufacturers containing records for 20 Brands, with other manufacturers showing an interest in joining.

NICB reminds its members to timely and accurately report thefts of boats and personal water craft to ISO ClaimSearch in order for NICB to determine insurable interest. By properly reporting theft claims, and the ability for NICB and law enforcement to access the type of information being supplied by the boat manufacturers, members receive prompt recovery notification.

Who Is the MIG (Manufacturer’s Information) Group?

Imagine you’re one of our law enforcement partners, and you’ve just pulled up and witnessed the final moments of a hit and run accident. It happened so fast, you didn’t have time to write down the license plate, or even get a good look at the driver. You look at the scene of the crime and notice a few pieces of the vehicle scattered all over the street. You have no identifiers for this vehicle, except you know it was a red Ford.

Amazingly… NICB can help! You call our Investigative Assistance (IA) Group directly or work with one of our Field Agents. The IA Group traces these parts back to their original Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Many times, the Investigative Assistant can match component parts in our system, but if they are not successful, they call upon the Manufacturer’s Information Group (MIG) for help! You will soon realize that even though the MIG group isn’t made up of your typical crime fighters, they are a critical part in our fight against vehicle fraud and crime.

After the IA completes an extensive search in our database, a Manufacturer’s Liaison will then reach out to their contact at the manufacturer and request a VIN match to the component part numbers found at the scene. Once the search has been returned from the manufacturer, the Manufacturer Liaison notifies the IA, who in turn, notifies you, our law enforcement partner, or the case Agent. You are provided the full VIN for further investigation. The solution to this puzzle comes to play when you realize that the MIG Group has helped you positively identify this vehicle. Armed with this intelligence, you are able to tie this VIN to a fatal hit and run accident that occurred earlier in the day. You also match this VIN to an active theft from a neighboring state. Your ability to alert local authorities, in multiple jurisdictions, results in the recovery of this stolen vehicle and the arrest of the alleged criminal. Our member company is also pleased, as you’ve helped recover their insured’s vehicle and identified the person allegedly responsible for these crimes.

This was all possible by the great work done by the MIG Department. So you ask, “Who are these masked employees?” They’re five amazing team members, all working closely together with their participating manufacturing contacts. Specifically, they download, research, analyze, and process manufacturers’ shipping and assembly records. They then process and data enter VIN decoding into our VIN Editing Database (VED) files, where the Lone Ranger of shipping requests provides the final piece! This team works together like a well oiled machine, each gear dependent on the other, to make the full VIN journey.

They’re always searching for new ways to provide data assistance. For example, they recently unveiled their newest achievement, NICB’s Boat Database! Our MIG Technical Analyst initiated this one of a kind Boat database, in partnership with the National Marine Manufacturer’s Association (NMMA). Similar to the information captured from our vehicle manufacturers, this boat database provides a single resource for identifying marine vessels.

Many are not aware that the MIG Department also creates and produces our various NICB manuals. All of the data gathered from the group’s multiple manufacturing contacts are compiled and published in NICB’s passenger, heavy equipment and commercial manuals. In fact recently, the MIG Support Analyst has been working hard to transition these hard copy manuals, into the 21st Century. Electronic versions of the manuals will allow the content to be more accessible and convenient to users with current technology devices.

So, keep a look out…coming soon, to a smart phone or tablet device near you, might just be a downloadable E-Book version of one of our most popular manuals! Kudos to the MIG group and a big thank you, for all of the behind the scenes work they do!

NICB People, Passion, Purpose – Part I

The phones are ringing. People are talking in the hallways. Joe Wehrle, president and CEO, has just walked by to greet employees across the different departments as he customarily does. He knows everyone by name. It’s a typical morning here in the NICB office. As I read through some of the case activities and fraud alerts in our area newsletters, I see the impact that NICB and its partners are making in the ongoing battle to prevent and combat insurance fraud.

One of the groups that is instrumental in this fight is NICB’s Investigative Assistance (IA) team. The IA Group handles all the incoming calls from law enforcement, member companies, NICB field agents and the public. 

Jennifer, a Senior Investigative Assistant at NICB, gives a behind the scenes look at the role she and this group plays.

Says Jennifer, “I love my job, and I’m very fortunate to be able to say that. An average day as an IA entails managing heavy call volume and research. Law enforcement callers from across the nation make up the majority of our calls. Requests typically encompass assistance in building a vehicle identification number, helping identify stolen or burned vehicles, searching for information on people alleged to have committed insurance fraud, and searches for vehicles or people that may have been involved in major crimes. Member Companies call to check if a vehicle reported as a theft has been entered or recovered by a law enforcement agency.  We also aid our Special Agents with whatever information they need, especially when they are out on investigations as it is more efficient for us to conduct data searches than it is for them while out in the field.

The IA group is an integral component of the overall five disciplines (Data Analytics, Investigations, Training, Legislative Advocacy, and Public Awareness) that comprise NICB, working collaboratively. We know that the criminals are working just as hard 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to devise new fraud schemes. But, just as we all pay the price for insurance fraud, we can all play a role in combating it. Speak Up! Visit us online at www.nicb.org, call us at 1-800-835-6422 or text keyword “Fraud” to TIP411 (847411).