The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness, is celebrating 100 years in 2012.

The history of the organization began with the Automobile Protective and Information Bureau (APIB) in 1912. The APIB was created under the leadership of Fred J. Sauter, who recognized efficiency in collaborating with the other companies to recover stolen vehicles.

In 1927 several groups sharing the same mission, including APIB, were consolidated into the National Automobile Theft Bureau (NATB), with Sauter serving as chairman until he retired in 1962. During the years, the NATB’s agent investigators became experts at finding hidden vehicle identification numbers or “raising” identification numbers that had been removed by auto thieves.

In 1992, the NATB merged with the Insurance Crime Prevention Institute (ICPI) to form the NICB. The merger combined the vehicle investigation expertise of the NATB with the insurance fraud prevention knowledge of ICPI.

The NICB says that, in recent years, vehicle theft has declined due to better anti-theft technology and law enforcement efforts. Many of the professional thieves have moved on to more insidious and lucrative kinds of insurance crimes, such as medical fraud and cargo theft. While maintaining its core mission of vehicle recovery, NICB says it also has taken a lead role in combating these crimes.

The NICB says that when questionable claims’ analysis showed a dramatic increase in medical fraud associated with auto policies, the organization established, in 2002, its first Major Medical Fraud Task Force (MMFTF) operations in south Florida and New York City. Consisting of dedicated NICB special agents and analytical resources, these task forces also work closely with law enforcement and insurance company special investigation unit personnel.

The MMFTF model has been so successful, says NICB, that it has been replicated in Houston, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., and Edison, N.J. (serving the Philadelphia and Delaware areas), on top of that, a second Florida task force was added recently in Tampa, Fla., where Florida’s no-fault law enables auto policy medical fraud to thrive.

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