Investigating Catastrophe Fraud Cases

Investigating Catastrophe Fraud Cases
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-05-02
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Investigating Catastrophe Fraud Cases
Unit 2Transcript: Investigating Catastrophe Fraud Cases
Unit 3Workbook: Investigating Catastrophe Fraud Cases
Unit 4Recording: Investigating Catastrophe Fraud Cases

Bad actors are always on the lookout for any opportunity to take advantage of people and the situation. It is no different in times of catastrophic events where unscrupulous characters still try to capitalize on the situation. This webinar zeroes in on how insurance frauds are committed during catastrophic events and how law enforcement and insurance companies with the help of the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) can work out and make sense of insurance fraud cases.

This session’s resource speaker is Gus Hitz from the National Insurance Crime Bureau where he investigates medical claims and commercial and vehicle thefts and supervises agents who are working on insurance-related crimes. Prior to this role, he served in law enforcement for 26 years.

Specifics of this course’s discussion include:

  • The NICB’s history, work, and services offered to law enforcement at no cost.
  • How catastrophes are viewed by insurance companies and the policyholders in terms of its cost.
  • The different types of catastrophic risks across the US and its prevalence.
    • Thunderstorms: The areas affected by it, the types of damages it creates, and ways that individuals may capitalize on it to commit fraudulent insurance claims.
    • Tornadoes: How it impacts and the damage it inflicts on communities, and the losses that insurance companies have to cover for it.
    • Hail: How hail formed, the random nature of hail and the damage it creates, how claims are assessed for hail damage, and contractor fraud and unethical practices related to hail events.
    • Wildfire: What is impacted by wildfire damage and fire-related fraud cases with citizens padding smoke damage and businesses setting up riot teams to get an insurance claim.
    • Hurricanes: US regions and types of properties typically impacted by hurricanes and flooding, and how flooded vehicles and boats are fraudulently sold as non-flooded.
    • Earthquakes: The risk for earthquakes and the extent of its potential damages.
    • Blizzards: How it creates real damage to man-made structures as well as trees and fraud incidents committed by sketchy contractors following blizzards.
  • When an insurance claim that wasn’t used for the intended repair becomes a crime.
  • The three elements required for someone to commit fraud.
  • The most obvious difference between cat claims and normal claims.
  • The challenges present in catastrophic events that make the process challenging for both the claimants and the field adjusters.
  • The concept of Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage and how this becomes a ripe opportunity for potential fraudsters.
  • The three motives for fraud and scams that stakeholders must be wary of.
  • The presence of dodgy characters and organized groups that seize the opportunity of catastrophic events to target vulnerable community members, particularly elders.
  • A rundown of the most common initial indicators and fraud indicators on receipts and claimed items NICB looks into that are likewise worth taking into account for law enforcement.
  • Action steps that law enforcement, insurance companies, and the NICB can do in response to potential insurance-related fraud activities.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • NICB’s involvement in PPP loans.
  • The entity that typically spots insurance fraud.
  • Trends in the number of catastrophic events.
  • Using Apple Air Tags and other tracking and monitoring solutions to curb and address auto theft.
  • Careers with organizations that focus on insurance fraud investigation.
  • NICB’s member insurance companies.
  • NICB’s investigative jurisdiction.


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Audience Comments

  • “It gave me some ideas and resources that I can use in the future for some of the fraud investigations that my department has been taking more of.” — Chris
  • “The entire webinar was very informative.” — David
  • “This was a totally unique and different topic and it was an eyeopener. He was so knowledgeable and had a great presentation style. Thanks for your wonderful programs.” — Linda
  • “For me, it was all basic information, but well presented.” — Mark



Nlets is a self-funded nonprofit, established in 1967 with the objective of connecting law enforcement, justice, and public safety agencies for the purpose of exchanging critical criminal justice information. They strive to ensure that the right information gets to the right person as quickly as possible. Nlets connects more than 1,000,000 users, 45,000 agencies, and 800,000 devices, with more than three billion transactions traversing their secure network last year.



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After the Webinar: Investigating Catastrophe Fraud Cases. Q&A with Gus Hitz
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