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NICB Launches Effort to Prevent Fraudulent Sale of Vehicles Damaged by Hurricane Katrina's Floodwaters and Winds

Effort Expected to Last Six Months to a Year

PALOS HILLS, Ill., Sept. 9 -- Special insurance industry teams will be assisting law enforcement and insurance companies in identifying and cataloging vehicles damaged by Hurricane Katrina to prevent their fraudulent resale to unsuspecting consumers in the future.

Robert M. Bryant, President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Insurance Crime Bureau announced today that he is dispatching special catastrophe teams to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Mobile, Alabama. The effort is expected to last from six months to a year.

Authorities estimate that thousands of vehicles have received damage from flooding in the New Orleans area alone. That number is expected to grow as claims from Mississippi are processed.

Bryant explained that unscrupulous salvage operators and dealers often try to conceal the fact that vehicles have been damaged by a natural disaster from potential buyers.

"By creating a registry of damaged vehicles now, the potential for this type of fraud can be greatly reduced," he said.

In addition to vehicles, NICB is also alerting disaster victims to be aware of the potential for fraud that exists as efforts to repair and rebuild get underway.

Bryant said, "Fraud is an unfortunate reality in post-disaster environments. For example, NICB and its insurance and law enforcement partners in Florida have pending investigations as a result of unscrupulous contractors who scammed victims and insurance companies in the aftermath of last year's four hurricanes.

"So too, as the initial recovery from Hurricane Katrina begins, there are people right now who are planning to converge on this area in order to obtain from disaster victims what little they have left or what they are entitled to from their insurance coverage."

NICB is the nation's premier non-profit organization exclusively committed to fighting insurance fraud and vehicle theft on behalf of its member companies, their policyholders and the general public through investigations, information analysis, training and awareness.

For more information on NICB and disaster fraud visit To report fraud, call 1-800-TEL-NICB (1-800-835-6422).