Michigan Arson Hotline Rescued From the Ashes

A team effort saves a valuable arson prevention program

DES PLAINES, Ill., May 7, 2019 — For over 30 years, the Michigan Arson Prevention Committee (MAPC) had provided many services to Michigan’s fire/police departments, insurance carriers and general public. This was in the form of training, governmental affairs, public awareness and education. 

Release Resources: Video

One of the key functions of the MAPC was the administration of the statewide Michigan Arson Hotline and Rewards Program. During this time the MAPC had paid out nearly $1 million to confidential informants whose information lead to the arrest and conviction of numerous arsonists, some of which involved very high profile arson fires within the state. 

From 2014 through 2018, the number of arson-related suspicious claims referred to NICB from Michigan decreased by nearly 50 percent.  

However, with its funding curtailed, on December 31, 2017, the MAPC ceased to exist and with it, any hopes of continuing the success Detroit had experienced with generating arson tips and witness cooperation.   

That’s when NICB Supervisory Special Agent Joseph Hanley, working with the Michigan Basic Property Insurance Association (MBPIA), decided to take action to re-establish the arson hotline.

In January 2018, Hanley and representatives of the MBPIA approached the Detroit Crime Commission (DCC) with a proposal for the DCC to assume the administrative responsibilities of the arson hotline and rewards program. The NICB was one of the very first partners of the DCC when it was founded in 2011. Acknowledging the mutual support and success of the arson hotline, the DCC enthusiastically agreed to the proposal. 

The combined efforts of MBPIA, DCC and the NICB demonstrate that working together we can achieve mutually beneficial outcomes—even when initial prospects appear dim. Was the effort worth it? In the words of MBPIA’s Ruth Hannam, “It’s worth every penny that goes into it.”

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Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800.TEL.NICB (800.835.6422) or submitting a form on our website.

About the National Insurance Crime Bureau: Headquartered in Des Plaines, Ill., the NICB is the nation's leading not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to combatting and preventing insurance crime through Intelligence, Analytics, and Operations; Education and Crime Prevention; and Strategy, Policy, and Advocacy. The NICB is supported by more than 1,200 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote over $582 billion in insurance premiums in 2021, or more than 82% of the nation's property-casualty insurance. That includes more than 96% of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more, visit www.nicb.org.