Insurance Industry to Create National Database to Combat Cargo Crime

September 30, 2009

By networking existing databases and adding secure reporting and analytic functions, two insurance industry organization hope to create a nationwide information sharing system on cargo crimes.

The rating and statistical organization ISO (Insurance Services Office) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) said the new system will enable more efficient, accurate, and timely sharing of cargo-theft information between theft victims, their insurers, and law enforcement.

Cargo theft is a multibillion-dollar economic drain that exploits gaps in the nation’s information-sharing ramework, according to the industry.

In addition to the direct costs to policyholders and insurers, indirect costs of cargo theft that include supply-chain interruption, which can jeopardize product safety when goods are taken from a controlled environment and resold to an unsuspecting public, the groups said.

The nationally coordinated data-sharing system will be built to take into account the needs of insurers, law enforcement, transportation companies, manufacturers, retailers, and their many agents and service providers. The core of the network is a new database called CargoNet, which will be launched in early 2010. The network will also encompass training and investigative support for law enforcement, as well as theft prevention services and analytics.

Vincent Cialdella, ISO senior vice president, said the system is receiving strong support from leading cargo insurers. “This initiative would not be possible without it,” he said. “We are also encouraged by discussions we have had with transportation companies, manufacturers, and retailers, given the crucial role they play in this initiative.”

Joe Wehrle, president and chief executive officer of NICB, said that the new database is one of the steps in the plan that the industry and law enforcement mapped out in November 2006, when the National Cargo Theft Task Force recommended the development of intelligence databases and information sharing.

According to Wehrle, NICB has been making progress against cargo theft on many fronts, recovering stolen cargo, developing intelligence, and dissolving organized groups behind the thefts. “If CargoNet were in place today, I’m sure we’d be seeing a lot more recoveries, and we’d be making thieves think twice about stealing these loads,” he said.

Ronald Thornton, president and chief executive officer of the Inland Marine Underwriters Association, a not-for-profit association that represents most U.S. cargo insurers, called the effort “a major step forward in the fight against cargo theft for our members and their policyholders, who both play such a critical role in the U.S. economy.”

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