owner of a derelict barn that had housed a seed plant operation
a decade earlier had been seeking a demolition contractor until
his local insurance agent suggested an increase in fire coverage
from $71,000 to $460,000 with no betterment or plan for usage.
Three days after the policy was issued the barn went to the ground.
The cause was arson.
Acquire, Evaluate, Act, Monitor
individual underwriter performs his/her important task sets up their
company to operate profitably or suffer from tremendous exposure &
of a competitive business environment, workload, cost cutting, less
than informative sources of risk information and sometimes even sloppy
workmanship and poor judgment allow too many totally unacceptable risks
to slip by property underwriters and gain insurance coverage every day.
This fact has serious consequences for both property carriers and for
insurance application on the underwriter's desk is, in some ways unique,
most applications can be grouped into broad categories enabling the
underwriter to apply information from standardized rating indices and
arson cases resulting in losses to property carriers, clear warning
signs were present that were either ignored or missed by the underwriter
who placed the business. These warning signs range from financial instability,
a serious criminal background and questionable prior losses to wholesale
disregard of reasonable security and fire prevention measures.
of interFIRE alerts property underwriters to the scope of the American
fire/arson problem and identifies major warning signs that are often
associated with a fire or arson prone risk.
of its frequency, arson is seldom considered as an individual peril.
Many underwriters feel that arson, like many other kinds of crime, is
random and difficult to judge as a risk factor.
in too many cases is that "the handwriting was on the wall"
but was missed or ignored.
6. Key Underwriting Clues for Loss Prevention.
factors should be considered each time that a fire insurance applicant
or policy renewal is being considered.
of trust with the producer - Placing insurance on risks combines the
science of rating exposures with the "art" of developing
a valid "gut" feeling about individuals seeking fire insurance
coverage. The professional judgment and "street smarts"
of the agent/broker is an important link in this process. Ask yourself,
has there been a history of questionable losses from clients referred
by this agent/broker that makes you question their skill, honesty
or common sense?
history - You need to know about each personal lines and commercial
fire insurance applicant's past history of claims activity that may
or may not have been settled. Today, there are underwriting databases
that can provide this information in seconds and at reasonable cost.
Information on these databases along with contact information is contained
in this document.
condition - Is this business or individual financially strapped? Is
there an impending situation, unknown to you, threatening to drive
down the business or personal finances of the applicant? An inexpensive
& on-line search of public record databases will often reveal
evidence of deteriorated finances such as liens, attachments, suits
or additional mortgages on real property or conditions affecting liquidity
such as personal or business bankruptcy or costly divorce settlements.
in business - Undercapitalized start-up businesses with inexperienced
owner/managers, especially those entering hyper-competitive markets
like small bar-restaurants or pizza stores, are notoriously prone
to failure. Established businesses with sound products and a solid
customer base are obviously less risky.
Control Report/Engineering Report - A qualified loss prevention inspector
can often spot significant problems affecting the current and future
value of a property. Structural or utility defects affecting the suitability
of a risk for its intended purpose or even intangibles such as "Quality
of Management" issues can have a profound impact on operations,
profitability and risk of fire.
of Management - A Ford Foundation study on Arson years ago found that
the number of sanitary code violations was the most significant correlation
to whether a given building would sustain an arson fire. "Quality
of Management" is expressed in clean & secure operations,
a high level of maintenance, and other positive factors that, by themselves,
tend to suppress the possibility of fire and crime.
of Loss Control Recommendations - Prior to policy renewal, has the
insured implemented each Loss Control recommendation to correct problems
or deficiencies noted in the first or subsequent inspection? Does
the insured resist or ignore reasonable recommendations?
"Big Ones" - three "red flags" were cited
as the most significant indicators of risk for arson based on
this insured broken the law in the past?
is this insured's financial history?
is their prior loss experience?
out overly risky applicants and placing specific covenants, warrantees
and stipulations on coverage extended to marginal applicants helps to
who are the risky applicants?
underwriting "red flags"
Business: The Insured.
- A criminal?
in personal trouble? (Bankruptcy, business or job loss, recent or
or extensive claim history?
to engineering recommendations?
- A new
business in a saturated market?
an unrealistic amount of coverage?
risk management habits? Everyone has a key to the front door &
security code to disarm the intrusion detectors?
- No action
taken on prior entering without breaking losses?
Business: Insurance Application
or out-of-town "walk in" applicant
high limits on marginal property
- No answer
or puts "None Known" in prior claims block
property insurance application
Business: The Risk
buildings or buildings in developments that are "emptying out"
restaurants or businesses
limited interest businesses
law violation sites
status (For Sale, vacant, etc.)
of "Pride of Ownership" in maintenance of the risk &
other capital stock
yard/building security system
materials in unsecured locations at, or adjacent to, the risk
- No sprinklers/fire/intrusion
detection system or a system that is inoperable or poorly maintained
- A fire/intrusion
system that can be disabled at the risk location or where a maintenance
contract is allowed to lapse without notification to the insurance
fires of undetermined origin or cause.
burglaries or malicious damage losses
up to heavy dry vegetation or unreasonable forest fire exposure?
on a barrier reef in a hurricane zone?
- Is the
risk next to an "at-risk" structure such as a vacant, unsecured
d. Risky business: Loss Control Report "Red Flags"
with a high rate of property crimes
unoccupied or under-utilized facility
housekeeping increases hazard.
system in disrepair
- No fire
protection/alarm system or an inadequate one.
doors/windows or locks.
fencing non-existent or in poor repair.
code violations - The highest correlation predicting a future arson
and any single factor was the number of sanitary code violations.
Ford Foundation study on Arson.
Business: Insurance Coverage
- A sudden
jump in requested coverage
in coverage or cancellation of the previous fire policy.
requested is much higher that the insured's investment.
Sources of underwriting information and electronic databases
Occupancy, Protection & Exposure (COPE): Shortcomings with the usual
underwriting data resources.
protection against insured fire & arson losses is to avoid the problem
in the first place. The underwriter armed with enough quality information
on new business or renewals to make an informed decision is obviously
in a better position to protect their company.
manuals typically agree on one point - "The best predictor of the
future is the past." This is the true basis of the art and science
of property insurance underwriting.
things in mind let's take a look at the pros & cons of commonly
used sources of underwriting information.
& B) - Dun & Bradstreet data sheets provide information about
a particular risk. The information is sometimes gathered by D&B
over the telephone or by mail. The risk is not obligated to provide
this information. The possibility a risk may provide false or misleading
information is present. The reports may become "dated".
There may be little or no reliable information on small or new businesses.
(ISO) & Rating Construction ProtectionTM
rates are based on factors assumed to be generally present in all
similar occupancies. These rates are average loss costs for a generic
class of occupancy and are not corroborated by an physical inspection
of a premises. These guides address a generalized, homogeneous grouping
of risks or a specific "class" of business.
rates are those promulgated by ISO inspectors upon a personal review
of the property. Specific rates use as their base cost average loss
cost factors developed by a general occupancy class and modified by
conditions identified at the risk during an actual inspection of operations
representative of average daily operations and hazards.
- To learn
more about any particular risk you will need to obtain the ISO inspection
date for that specific location.
- If the
Guide is "dated" you may need to request another site inspection.
guides assume an "average" risk within its class and may
not be suitable for evaluating a specific risk.
control Manual - This resource provides an overview or generalized
report for an average or acceptable risk within a class of similar
risks. Information from a Loss Control Manual may be a poor fit for
any individual risk. Two widely used Loss Control Manuals are Best
and FC&S BulletinsTM.
Inspection Report - The quality of insurance company "Loss Inspection
Reports" vary with the expertise of the Loss Control Inspector.
The inspector is the "eyes" of the underwriter. If the inspector
is not competent, or misreads hazards at the risk, the underwriter
will not recognize or identify potential exposure problems. The frequency
of the Loss Inspection Reports varies based on the characteristics
of the risk. In any event you need a competent inspector for that
type of risk or the frequency of the reports will not matter.
can an underwriter learn if the property insurance application doesn't
tell the whole story?
significant advance for underwriting and claims professionals is the
development of advanced insurance industry computerized underwriting,
claims and public record databases.
a trained underwriter with a telephone or standard computer linked to
the Internet can perform perfectly legal research of an applicant's
past claim history or present financial status to verify representations
and to reveal discrepancies and significant problems concealed in the
insurance application or by inadequate information in commonly used
underwriting data resources.
of Databases & Resources of value to property underwriters:
Record databases & commercially available CD-ROM databases
Information Databases (excerpted from interFIRE's
Databases for Fire/Arson Investigation)
industry has been collecting claims loss data for many years. Today,
most insurers contribute information to one or more property-casualty
organizations that maintain several large insurance loss history databases.
The information contained in these databases is intended for use by
underwriters, claims and SIU personnel in official performance of their
important differences in the extent of prior loss history information
between the major "Underwriting" and "Claims" databases.
database is designed to enable underwriters to verify representations
contained in an application for personal lines or commercial insurance
before the policy is issued for new business or upon renewal.
underwriting database vendor (A-PlusTM)
contains information on every single personal lines or commercial claim
submitted to them in the United States over the previous five years
whether or not any settlement was made and regardless of the amount
of the claim. This database contains submissions representing approximately
85% of the property/casualty insurance industry's loss data.
major underwriting database vendor (ChoicePointTM)
can provide loss data for the past five years for approximately 80%
of the personal lines property policies and 95% of the personal lines
auto policies submitted to them in the United States.
may query either database for prior loss history by supplying at least
the name and address of the subject. Like any form of database research
the more information provided on the subject the better and more complete
the search results are apt to be.
and any former name (e.g. maiden name) or alias.
and former addresses.
business names and addresses.
(doing business as) names.
names of one or more business partners.
Federal Tax ID number.
social security number of one or more owners, partners or corporate
contained in the underwriting database falls under the Fair Credit Reporting
Act. As such, results of queries made in the normal course of underwriting
are regarded as having the same level of protection as is a person's
credit history. Information received from the underwriting database
can not be used for claim handling, special investigations or pre-employment
to the underwriting database is restricted to insurers who have contributed
a minimum of three to five years of loss data to the database.
two major underwriting database vendors; A-PlusTM
currently contains personal lines and commercial claims data and ChoicePointTM
(www.choicepointinc.com) that contains only personal lines claims data.
Claim Databases (excerpted from interFIRE's
Electronic Databases for Fire/Arson Investigation)
is included to familiarize property underwriters with existing claims
insurance claim database receives claims information from over 1,500
insurance companies as well as 1,000 self-insureds representing 95%
of the applicable premium volume. The difference between claims loss
information in the underwriting database and the claim databases lies
the underwriting database contains information on "every single
claim submitted over the previous five years whether or not any settlement
was made and regardless of the amount of the claim," the information
contained in the claims database is dependent on thresholds set in individual
insurance companies as to what they report. One company may choose to
report all claims made against it where another may report only claims
over $5,000 or some other arbitrary threshold.
insurance companies have gathered information and maintained records
on specific types of claims with a significant risk of fraud such as
bodily injury, property losses, worker's compensation and motor vehicle
claims. This information was isolated into databases covering a particular
type of loss i.e. fire claims.
fraud investigators have long wished for a single, combined database
that would merge all categories of claim information into a single database
to increase efficiency and save time.
Claims Database, promises to do just that. That database, called ISO
ClaimSearch, was developed by the Insurance Services Office (ISO) and
combines the AISG injury and property databases with the NICB Vehicle
Database. ISO ClaimSearch combines a number of formerly independent
databases. These include:
The Property Insurance Loss register (PILR) - PILR was established
in 1980 to help insurance carriers fight arson and other fraud in
property loss claims. More than 1200 property insurance carriers submit
fire/arson, burglary & theft losses representing over 95% of written
premium. Each year PILR receives more than 2 million new claims and
issues 340,000 reports indicating prior claim "hits" by
the same individual or at the same location. Today, this database
includes loss information for all perils including fire, theft &
burglary losses. A PILR query may reveal the following information
about a loss under investigation:
insurer's prior claims;
partners, and other parties to the loss; and
The Index System database - contains information on over 65 million
bodily injury claim submissions. Each year participating carriers
report an additional 20 million new claims. One in three submissions
results in an outgoing report indicating a match between the claimant
and past bodily injury claims by that same person.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) which contained 65
million auto related claims.
SOS-Plus database - This will connect the end user to loss history
on bodily injury and property loss claims as well as public records
and consumer and commercial information.
across these various lines of insurance claims will be accomplished
through a single query to ISO ClaimSearch. This new database allows
insurers to expedite processing the majority of legitimate claims that
are filed as well as provide data for better benchmarking of claims
database also makes it easier to detect patterns of fraud when they
exist and to uncover both organized fraud rings and the individual opportunist.
Using this database, it will be possible for an investigator working
in one line of insurance, such as workers compensation, to uncover connections
between the claimant under investigation and a previous auto claim or
fire/arson investigation should, as a matter of routine practice, include
a check of the victim's claim history.
presently contains over 100 million claims including personal and commercial
property as well as bodily injury claims. It is the largest database
of property/casualty claims information in the United States. The database
is searched on and matching claims information is returned to the company
either electronically or on paper. Twenty million new claims are filed
annually and the database is expected to grow to 200 million claims
within three years.
also earmarks claims that have been determined to be "suspicious
or potentially fraudulent" in nature. These claims are regularly
reported to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and are also
part of ISO ClaimSearch,.
information that is returned can assist the investigator in determining
what that individual's experience is concerning property losses.
will provide a 6+ year history of losses including:
history information on the individual or business.
past loss history information on the address where the current loss
on all of the parties to the loss including spouses, lien holders,
banks, mortgage companies & individuals.
Information including the carrier involved in the prior loss, the
amount of coverage, the policy number and other important information.
This query helps identify multiple or duplicate coverage's on the
claims in the bodily injury, property and auto areas can also be important
to an investigator. The individual's overall claims experience can provide
valuable insight into a potential financial motive. A determination
of the claims history of the business or individual should be made as
early in the course of the investigation as possible.
percent of the information that flows into the insurance databanks is
sent electronically. Some individual companies may send up to 20,000
claims a day. These are filed and indexed in various ways. Information
material is sorted by social security number, address, name, former
name, alias, date of accident, type of injury, location of accident.
Also on file are a claimant's occupation, license number, policy number,
doctor or treatment facility and vehicle identification number
multiple claimants the computers are programmed to look for names exactly
or phonetically as well as by different variations such as in Robert,
Robbie and Bob. Streets addresses may be searched in a variety of ways
as in #10 Main, #10 Main St., #10 Main Ave, etc. Databases are set to
red flag addresses from penal facilities as well as from Post Office
Records Database Services:
"Paper Chase" seeking information on property, probate and
vital records used to involve physically hand searching voluminous deed
records or index card files in various state, city and county offices.
Today, thanks in large part to electronic databases specializing in
"public record" information, this task can be accomplished
more thoroughly in minutes and at very reasonable cost.
don't represent the actual records but rather are an "index"
of the records. Investigators seeking to use public records for legal
purposes (trial evidence, etc.) usually will need to get certified copies
from the custodian agency of the records.
vendors offer access to a wide variety of database options ranging from
local to national asset searches, "skiptracing" - finding
someone who is "missing", or identifying liens & attachments,
bankruptcies, divorce or other probate records and much more.
vendors offer "bundles" or "packages" of searches
where simultaneous searches across a number of public record databases
can be accomplished at reasonable cost.
|For example, one large public record database vendor
offers a $7 bundled search that, "scans over 4 billion records
to create a single comprehensive report on an individual using as
little as a last name. The report would include the individual's
full name, any alias names, most current address, previous address,
telephone number, social security number, driver's license number,
date of birth, possible relatives, real property ownership, bankruptcies,
tax liens, judgements, UCC filings, aircraft, watercraft, stock
ownership details and other important personal details."
underwriter connects into a premium public record database, the once
daunting "paper chase" can often be accomplished in minutes
right from his/her desk. You should be aware that many vendors are stronger
in one part of the country than another & others specialize in certain
types of information. Some vendors offer a greater variety of databases.
Different vendors might also have vastly different cost structures,
levels of service and varying quality of available information. This
is one area where the expression, "Let the Buyer Beware" should
be taken literally. Comparison-shopping is a must.
does not recommend one vendor over any other. However it is our experience
that the best quality public record database vendors tend to share a
number of characteristics:
permit a free trial run,
will train your personnel for free,
databases are updated frequently (at least every six months),
can either perform an on-line search themselves or have a staff expert
assist them for an extra fee.
information, public record databases can provide the following;
of the applicant's identity & address(es)
how much was paid for the property
else is in the corporation
liens, suits & judgments
credit history & outstanding debts of the applicant (consent release
search - Has the applicants name, address or company appeared in the
addresses & telephone numbers of neighbors
vehicles in the household
workers compensation claims
records (births, marriages, deaths, etc)
of public record databases:
is no "footprint" or audit trail since all records are in
the public domain.
be costly if not managed properly
service providers have a regional or specialty focus.
varies by vendor.
a variety of CD-ROM database programs available in office supply stores,
computer software stores or through mail-order catalogues that could
help property underwriters verify information. Residential and commercial
telephone numbers and addresses are among the potentially useful.
product contains information on 115,000,000 listed residential telephone
numbers in the United States. This product permits the user to search
a number of different ways to obtain information about a particular
individual. For example, with the telephone "white pages"
CD-ROM you can search the entire country or, limit the search to a specific
state, a metropolitan area, a city or town, a telephone area code or
a zip code.
search using a name only, an address only, or just a telephone number.
The product, if it matches, will provide the full name, full mailing
address with a listed telephone number.
CD-ROM product, designed for business users, and available commercially,
will provide the following information on individuals:
gender of occupants.
CD-ROM database lists over 10 million businesses by name & address,
telephone number, employee size range and estimated sales, credit rating
Internet is made up of over 80,000 academic, commercial, government
& military interconnected computer networks in more than 200 countries.
The "Net" is an important resource now that promises to be
even more important as time goes on.
is the world's largest network of independent computer systems that
have agreed to work together to provide a global communications facility.
Once you are familiar with a few basic techniques you should be able
to either go directly to a web site of value or "surf the net"
& find what you are looking for.
a number of Internet services of potential value to property underwriters:
sites" - Literally millions of people/organizations/government
agencies have "web sites" that a user can access with FTP
(file transfer protocol) and then have the choice to read or download
text, graphics/sounds, etc. into their own computer and print it out.
Most of the important web sites of interest are free.
(electronic mail) - Provides a user with the ability to send and receive
letters & files to/from other users around the world - instantly
and for free.
- Bulletin boards that contain information and commentary from people
about a specific subject (i.e. underwriting, arson investigation,
Wide Web" - An electronic interface (switchboard) that allows
you to link into the Internet system.
requirements you need to get on the "Net" are a computer,
common software platforms, a modem that hooks into an ordinary telephone
jack and a service contract with a local "Internet provider"
or, membership in a national service such as America - Online, CompuServe
or similar. Today, a one-month agreement with an Internet Provider can
cost as little as $10 and may include 20 - 30 hours of free Internet
access time. One-month of unlimited Internet use with one of the national
providers usually costs about $20.
on the Net
time you go on-line you will probably see the Internet provider's "home
page." Chances are you can "jump" from there directly
to other web sites that will give you the local/national news, weather,
sports, events of interest and much more.
click on the icon for "Search the Web" you will get a screen
with a blinking cursor in a text box. If you enter "underwriting"
in that box and then click on "go" within seconds the "search
engine" will identify more than 30,000 or more web sites that may
have information for you.
ten or twenty sites that most closely match your topic will come up
automatically. Scroll down the page reading the thumbnail descriptions
until you find one that seems to meet your needs.
click on the site's highlighted name to open it. If you like what you
see you can read it on the computer screen or choose to save the information
to your computer's hard drive or print it out.
can use the following formats to improve their odds at getting the right
for... Returns pages containing...
arson fire and/or arson preferring pages with the phrase fire arson
arson" the word fire next to the word arson
arson fire, maybe arson
both fire and arson in the document, not necessarily next to one another
pages containing the word Fire; pages with the word arson are ranked
Smith the name John Smith (Remember to capitalize proper nouns)
the name John and the name Smith
want to be able to return to that web site sometime just click on the
"Bookmarks" menu and click on "Add a Bookmark."
The next time you want to return to that site simply click on "Go
to Bookmarks" and then click on the name of the site and you'll
be back to it in seconds.
are interested in speeding up research consider disabling the "graphics"
from the websites you visit. To do this simply click on the "Options"
menu and then see if there is a checkmark next to "Auto Load Images"
on the pull down menu. If there is a checkmark next to "Auto Load
Images", click on it to remove graphics. All the new websites that
you open will be "text only." This is much faster.
way to search the web for sites of interest is to simply use one of
the "search engines" supplied by your Internet vendor. Occasionally
you can locate a specific major organization's website by pulling down
the "File" menu click on "Open" (or, Ctrl + "O")
and then entering the organization's simple Internet address & appropriate
for fire/arson related websites
these are common sense. For example, www.ford.com will take you to the
Ford Motor Company's website, www.iaai.org will take you to the International
Association of Arson Investigators website, www.atf.gov will take you
to the Bureau of Alcohol of Tobacco & Firearms website and so forth.
Domain (i.e., zone)
Government body or department
International Organization (e.g. NATO)
Anything that doesn't fit anywhere else, such as professional
societies, non-profit organizations, etc.
highly recommends these websites as a place for property underwriters
to start learning about fire, arson & insurance fraud.
Recommended Web Sites
|interFIRE VR Recommended Web Sites
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms, Washington DC
Information on the agency, its programs, training, wanted persons,
hot links to fire/arson/explosion websites & more.
American Re-Insurance, Princeton, NJ
Information of the company, insurance, re-insurance, Arson "Tip
of the Quarter", hot links to the insurance industry, insurance
information databases & more.
International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), Louisville,
The IAAI is the largest organization of fire/arson investigators
in the world with Chapters in 45 states and 30 countries. The
site contains fire/arson information & hotlinks to other important
National Fire Academy, Emmitsburg, MD
Information about fire/arson, firefighting, fire prevention &
other training programs offered by the NFA at the National Fire
Academy campus (www.nfa.gov) & remotely throughout the nation.
Hotlinks to major sites of interest including the Learning Resource
Center, the largest fire/arson library in the world (www.lrc.gov).
The library's holdings can be searched on-line. The Federal Emergency
Management Agency (www.fema.gov) is the parent organization of
the USFA & NFA.
Learning Resource Center, U.S. Fire Administration, Emmitsburg,
A major collection of information on fire/arson investigation
and related topics with over 60,000 volumes and more than 200
periodicals, magazines and journals with a fire focus. This site
allows the user to search the library's holdings most of which
can be obtained through the inter-library loan program through
your local library.
National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA.
NFPA is a world leader in formulating and publishing codes and
standards for fire safety. Its website contains information about
fire protection codes, training, consultation services and hotlinks
to many of the most important fire and arson investigation organization's
National Institute of Standards & Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg,
A link to the Building & Fire Research Laboratory that conducts
scientific experiments and testing of products and processes to
determine fire hazard and combustion properties.
Building & Fire Research Laboratory - Fire Research Information
FIREDOC is a fire research bibliographic database containing
50,000 documents on nearly any fire research related subject.
The user searches the database using "key words", the
author's name or word(s) in a title. The service is free and can
be searched from the web, the Internet or via a modem.
web sites to assist property underwriters with research
records research can be done for free.
can begin their Internet public record or fire incident research by
using a search engine right from their Service Provider's home page.
For example, if you want to see if the State of Florida put any of its
public records on the Internet begin by searching "Florida + Public
Records." Scroll down the "hits" to see if the type of
public record you are seeking is provided. Click on the highlighted
name & the site will open.
category of public record or fire investigation research is linked to
the Internet then you can open it & search for the information there.
Some of these sites provide information for free. A few may charge a
nominal fee. Keep in mind that high-quality public record database vendors
will generally provide a broad range of information for one low cost.
Instead of searching for information incrementally consider getting
"bundled" information from a vendor that includes the specific
field you are looking for.
public record information is available through Law Enforcement Databases
and CD-ROM databases. Much of this information can be quickly obtained
via "Public Record Database Services" and it is always available
by going to the records custodian in person.
department or organization that provides data on the web usually has
a more complicated looking address because it is often a unit address
within a larger organization. To examine one of these sites click on
the "File" menu then click on "Open." Enter the
address exactly as shown here & click OK.
use the web frequently for research or education you will probably find
hundreds of web sites that have information that may be of value to
you. Once you are on-line, organize your favorite sites by simply clicking
on "Organize Favorites" and set up topic files then save each
Internet address chosen as a favorite into a specific topic file.
will recommend specific websites of high value to fire/arson investigators
to get you going quickly and so you can see the incredible value and
relevance of the Internet to your work.
one of these sites all you have to do is click on the "File"
menu and then click on "Open." Copy the "address"
of the site exactly as shown in our listing and then click "OK."
The site will appear within seconds. Almost all of these sites offer
"Hotlinks" to other related sites. To reach a "hotlink"
website just double click on its name.
sites of interest to P/C underwriters on fire/arson, property insurance
and insurance fraud
provides additional examples of web sites that may be especially useful
for property underwriters, property claims investigators and fire/arson
investigators. Every day more sites come on-line. Some of these sites
may go off line at some point.
Industry & Underwriting Organizations & Information
is a major developer of insurance industry standards & forms.
Information Institute - statistics and facts about arson & fraud
and other subjects affecting the industry.
Association of Special Investigation Units - insurance fraud information
Association of Auto Theft Investigators - information on motor vehicle
property & causality web links including some for property underwriting.
Coalition against Insurance Fraud - Excellent resource on insurance
of Certified Fraud Examiners.
Information Exchange - information about underwriting & internet
about the Property & Casualty Insurance Industry.
Services Office provides actuarial, underwriting & claims information
for the insurance industry.
Association of Insurance Services - One of two national advisory organizations
that develops and files state regulator forms, manuals & rating
information for the P/C industry.
Underwriter - A publication that includes information of interest to
Property & Causality Underwriters Society (CPCU) - An organization
that provides training and education , a code of ethics and provides
standards for the underwriting profession.
Marine Underwriters Association (IMUA) - national association for the
inland marine underwriting association.
Insurance Magazine - Articles of interest to P/C underwriters.
Insurance Association - A P/C trade association.
against Insurance Fraud
Underwriting Resources (general)
link to Chemical, Fire Protection, Electrical, Facility & more professional
& Associates (motor vehicle fire investigation publications)
of Transportation vehicle recalls
Laboratory (UL) An independent, not-for-profit product testing &
certification organization for over a century with U.S. & international
Product Safety Council - A federal U.S. Government agency that provides
information on hazardous products and more.
& Company Locators
America People Finder
a person, their address, telephone number & sometimes directions
to the person's house.
on over 100,000 domestic companies on the web.
& white pages for domestic & some overseas countries, US government
agency locator, toll free numbers, weather & more.
325 million names and family relations.
& overseas road maps & directions to find a specific location
business & residential phone directory
& Public Record Databases
Services Office (ISO) webpage. A major supplier of statistical, actuarial,
underwriting and claims information to the insurance industry.
Use the "Site Index" pull down menu on the ISO splash page
to learn more about AISG, A-PlusTM
(commercial & personal lines underwriting database), PILR, INDEX
& other vital insurance claims databases & related services
are offered by this company.
Insurance Services Group (AISG) is an industry-supported provider of
insurance and public record database information for both commercial
& personal lines of insurance.
advertising claims nearly 1,100 insurance companies, 84% of the industry
by premium & 24 FAIR Plans, report to their underwriting database.
property underwriters with 3 - 5 years of claims experience on all losses
due to all perils at all thresholds. Note that only insurance companies
that contribute data are allowed access to claims loss information.
- A major supplier of personal lines, property & causality underwriting
database and predictive model information to the insurance industry.
advertising claims its databases can provide loss data for the past
five years for approximately 80% of the U.S. personal lines property
market, and about 95% of the U.S. personal lines auto market.
only insurance companies that contribute data are allowed access to
claims loss information.
subsidiary, is a comprehensive public record database vendor in the
United States. The system claims access to more than 4 billion public
records at reasonable cost.
provides "Credit Header" information that provides a full
name, alias names, full or partial DOB, SSN, current & former addresses,
real property assets and some information on bankruptcies, liens, corporate
Technologies - DBT's public record database is called AutoTrackTM.
This is another large and respected public record database vendor in
the United States. The system advertises access to more than 4 billion
public records at reasonable cost.
provides "Credit Header" information that provides a full
name, alias names, full or partial DOB, SSN, current & former addresses,
real property assets and some information on bankruptcies, liens, corporate
States Public Records Files (free & fee)
number of federal, state and municipal governments are putting public
records on-line. These can often be searched for free. Begin by going
to the state's website (i.e. www.state.tx.us
for Texas, www.state.ca.us
for California, etc.) & then check the Secretary of State's Office
in the jurisdiction or use an Internet search engine to query (i.e.
Texas & state government) to locate the links into the governmental
office that would be the custodian of the records you seek. Some states
allow search of Department of Correction sites for people' incarcerated
and other personal information.
provides an impressive listing of free and fee municipal, county, state
& federal public record search websites. This site provides links
to free public record websites, hot links to public record research
vendors & fee services, SSN searches, reverse directories and more.
BRB Publications related website containing reverse directories, maps
and other useful information & links.
& Record searches
Data Research (background)
Question for Property Underwriters
Accidental or "Unintentionally" caused fires really "Caused
take a closer look at the cause of many so-called "accidental"
fires in the United States today it will be clear that "accidental"
too often really means negligent. A decade ago experts in the field
of traffic accident reconstruction began calling accidents by their
real name, "caused events." Many, if not most, unintentional
fires fall into the same category.
in fire investigation and arson & fire prevention would confirm
that the overwhelming majority of fires resulting in property loss and
personal injury could be prevented if reasonable maintenance, housekeeping,
security and due care standards were observed.
have important implications for property carriers and property underwriters
seeking to reduce their company's accidental and intentional fire losses.
take a closer look at arson arrest data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's
Uniform Crime Report a few facts jump right out at you.
arrested arsonists are young.
70% of arrested arsonists are under 25 years of age.
under 18 years of age account for 53%of arson arrests.
is considered to be the most common single motive for arson for juveniles.
motives for setting a fire are closely related to being able to gain
access to combustibles.
is the most common single motive for adults.
of adequate premises security measures such as strong doors and windows,
adequate fencing and lighting, intrusion and fire detection alarms,
and sprinklers in concert with reasonable housekeeping standards would
stop many, if not most, juvenile and adult arsonists from ever getting
to the point of fire origin.
& well -managed homes and businesses seldom suffer from "accidental"
or incendiary fires.
of unsavory character, past criminal convictions, failing business or
personal finances, decrepit risk condition, poor security & fire
detection & protection, outrageous insurance limits on derelict
facilities or risks of depreciated value, and unreasonable claims history
would rule out fire coverage being placed in most arson cases.
of sub-standard maintenance & housekeeping, dangerous storage, careless
use of ignition sources, prior accidental fires and poor fire detection
and suppression system maintenance would rule out coverage being placed
in most cases of unintentional fires.
is the key. Underwriting & public record databases open the door
to the full picture.
where the professional property underwriter comes into play.