NAMIC Throws Support Behind Ariz. Legislative Study of Auto Theft

December 19, 2005

The National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies (NAMIC) will support a legislative study on auto theft in Arizona when the bill is heard in the state’s legislature. A proposed bill has been pre-filed for possible consideration early next year.

“Automobile theft is a serious criminal activity that adversely impacts
the national economy and increases the cost of automobile insurance
rates for consumers,” said NAMIC West Region State Affairs Manager
Christian Rataj.

A motor vehicle is stolen every nine minutes and 42 seconds in Arizona,making the Grand Canyon State first for vehicle theft per capita in the country, according to the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority.

SB 1019, Automobile Theft Authority Vehicle Theft Study Report, would require the Arizona Automobile Theft Authority to study:

• How to combat cross-border trafficking of stolen vehicles;
• Ways to educate the public about how to prevent automobile theft; and
• The feasibility and effectiveness of utilizing mechanical theft resistance devices in automobiles, including but not limited to the use of ignition transponder keys.

The Authority’s study is to be completed by Oct. 1, 2006.

There were more than 1.2 million motor vehicle thefts in the United
States in 2004, with an estimated value of approximately $8.2 billion,
according to the FBI’s 2004 Uniform Crime Report.

In Arizona, there were 55,306 stolen vehicles in 2004, with only 67 percent of the vehicles recovered, according to the FBI report.

“The insurance industry has been working with national automobile theft prevention organizations, state and federal law enforcement, automobile manufacturers and state legislatures to combat this serious criminal activity,” said Rataj. “Fourteen states (Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Texas and Washington) have laws that provide car owners discounts on their comprehensive insurance for having anti-theft devices. Moreover, a substantial number of insurance carriers offer voluntary premium discounts to consumers who purchase or install anti-theft devices in their motor vehicle.”

The average comprehensive insurance premium-the part of an automobile insurance policy that provides coverage for vehicle theft-rose 11.2 percent from 1999 to 2003, the most recent data available, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

“NAMIC will continue to work with the federal government and state
legislatures to draft bills that facilitate automobile theft prevention,
education and criminal prosecution,” Rataj concluded.

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