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

Buying a Used Car? Don’t Get Tricked into Purchasing a Flooded Car

Last month thousands of cars were stranded, stalled and submerged after torrential rain hit the Houston area. NICB recommends you check a vehicle’s history before purchasing a used car.
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Courtesy: KPRC

Texas Flooding Damages Up to 10,000 Insured Vehicles

DES PLAINES, Ill. – The recent flooding in Texas means the end of the road for an estimated 7,000 to 10,000 insured vehicles that suffered water damage.

Salvagelot

Copart facility in Houston, TX

That’s the current estimate from Copart, a company that works on behalf of insurers to handle the vehicles damaged in catastrophes. About 2,500 cars, trucks, motorcycles, RVs and other vehicles have already been towed to one of Copart’s locations, a 200-acre processing facility in Houston.

After a disaster, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) works with its member companies, law enforcement and companies like Copart to identify the vehicles that have had an insurance claim filed and to process them for sale. All of the cars 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.

To see a video about the processing of flooded vehicles, click here.

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

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Interior of a flooded Porsche

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 here.

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 weeks and months after a major catastrophe. 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

* For a free brochure with tips to avoid post-disaster fraud, click here.

* For useful checklists, including how to spot flood and salvage vehicle scams and post-disaster contractor repair schemes, click here.

* For free consumer access to the vehicle salvage records of participating NICB member insurance companies who collectively provide 88 percent of the auto insurance in force today, access NICB’s VINCheck℠.