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News & Press: Industry News

NICB: Michigan Arson Hotline Rescued from the Ashes

Tuesday, May 7, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Greg Haag
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May 7, 2019

Frank Scafidi

A team effort saves a valuable arson prevention program

DES PLAINES, Ill.— For over 30 years, the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee (MAPC) had provided many services to Michigan’s fire/police departments, insurance carriers, and general public. This was in the form of training, governmental affairs, public awareness and education.

Release Resources: Video

One of the key functions of the MAPC was the administration of the statewide Michigan Arson Hotline and Rewards Program. During this time the MAPC had paid out nearly $1 million to confidential informants whose information lead to the arrest and conviction of numerous arsonists, some of which involved very high profile arson fires within the state.

From 2014 through 2018, the number of arson-related suspicious claims referred to NICB from Michigan decreased by nearly 50 percent.

However, with its funding curtailed, on December 31, 2017, the MAPC ceased to exist and with it, any hopes of continuing the success Detroit had experienced with generating arson tips and witness cooperation.   

That’s when NICB Supervisory Special Agent Joseph Hanley, working with the Michigan Basic Property Insurance Association (MBPIA), decided to take action to re-establish the arson hotline.

In January, 2018, Hanley and representatives of the MBPIA, approached the Detroit Crime Commission (DCC) with a proposal for the DCC to assume the administrative responsibilities of the arson hotline and rewards program. The NICB was one of the very first partners of the DCC when it was founded in 2011. Acknowledging the mutual support and success of the arson hotline, the DCC enthusiastically agreed to the proposal.

The combined efforts of MBPIA, DCC and the NICB demonstrate that working together we can achieve mutually-beneficial outcomes—even when initial prospects appear dim. Was the effort worth it? In the words of MBPIA’s Ruth Hannam, “It’s worth every penny that goes into it.”


About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, learning and development, government affairs and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $496 billion in insurance premiums in 2018, or more than 81 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 92 percent ($254 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit


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