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Federal Emergency Management Agency - page 29 / 33





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RURAL Arson Control


hydrocarbon detectors as well as for consumables (film, evidence cans, etc.) used in strike force investigations.

Fire investigators and fire departments should be made aware of the program guidelines published by the insurance industry that recommend criteria for local and state insurance associations consider in making anti-arson grants.

The U.S. Fire Administration might include a special section in future editions of the Arson Resource Directory on securing insurance industry grants. Fur- ther, the Arson Resource Center could maintain a supply of the anti-arson grant guidelines

Insurance Industry Cooperation

Need Statement:

Improve cooperation between fire service and insurance industry arson control efforts.


There is a general perception among the sites studied that insurance industry practices contribute to the arson problem in rural areas by over-insuring properties, and are too quick to pay off claims even when they occur under suspicious circumstances. Fire service, law enforcement, and state fire marshal personnel would benefit from better communication. As a general rule there appeared to be scant regard for the problems of other actors in the systems. For instance, fire service personnel maintained that in many cases properties had highly inflated valuations placed on them. Insurersdid not attempt to assess the values claimed by the insured. These critics wanted insurors to inspect the property or otherwise satisfy themselves as to the value of the property prior to underwriting them. Insurors, on the other hand, pointed out that the time required to check up on the values claimed would increase costs and cut into their selling opportunities.

Arson Control Expert Concurrence

Agree 23

Disagree 1

Solution Options:

Conduct a study to document programs that have improved working relation- ships among the insurance industry and rural arson investigators. The study should offer guidelines to fire departments and insurors to lessen the likelihood that properties would be overvalued. or that fraudulent claims were paid due to a lack of appropriate cooperation between public investigator and insurors

One state has recently introduced legislation barring mortgage holders from requiring insurance premiums covering the full mortgage amount to the extent that the mortgage covers property value. This provision would tend to eliminate this source of over insurance

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