NICB: Insured Metal Theft Claims See Three-Year Decline

Although the Problem Persists, Latest Data Trend is Promising

May 08, 2014, 06:00 ET from National Insurance Crime Bureau

DES PLAINES, Ill., May 8, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a new report released today, the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) sees hopeful evidence that the national problem of metal theft might be decreasing. The report reviews metal theft insurance claims from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2013.

In 2011, a total of 14,676 metal theft claims were processed. The number dropped to 13,603 in 2012 and decreased again in 2013 to 10,807—a decline of over 26 percent from 2011. During this period, 41,138 insurance claims for the theft of copper, bronze, brass or aluminum were handled—39,976 of them (97 percent) for copper alone. When the number of metal theft claims per month and monthly average copper prices are compared, the number of claims filed is found to have a statistically-significant correlation with the price of copper.

As in our previous report on metal theft, Ohio ranked first of all the states generating 4,144 metal theft claims. It was followed by Texas (2,827), California (2,489), Pennsylvania (2,345) and Georgia (2,067).

The top-five Core Based Statistical Areas generating the most metal theft claims were New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA (1,725); Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI (1,386); Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD (1,200), Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA (1,198) and Dallas-Ft. Worth-Arlington, TX (948).

You can review and download additional material here. Watch a video detailing the link between copper prices and incidents of metal theft. Download the metal theft infographic.

While this report deals exclusively with submitted insurance claims, the ultimate impact of this activity falls, to some degree, on all consumers. Losses to businesses and government entities are shared with customers and taxpayers through higher costs for goods and services and/or reductions in services.  Moreover, depending on the circumstances of the theft, these incidents may not generate an insurance claim, or even a police report. Consequently, comprehensive empirical data is elusive.

Individuals can do their part to prevent these kinds of thefts by simply being vigilant in their neighborhoods and business communities. If dwellings remain unoccupied for extended periods of time, they become magnets for unlawful behaviors. Wire stripping is among the activities that are routinely discovered in these locations. Your best protection is simply paying attention. Talk with your neighbors and ask one that you trust to keep watch on your home if you will be away. As always, you should report suspicious activity to your local law enforcement agency. Unreported crime may breed more crime.

Public awareness often drives necessary legislative activity, which enables law enforcement to better perform its functions. In 2012, Ohio passed legislation which requires scrap metal dealers to obtain identification from scrap metal sellers and prohibits cash payments to scrap metal sellers. Last month, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder signed a similar bill into law as did Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper. While metal thefts continue, the downward trend shown in this latest report may be attributed, in part at least, to these cumulative efforts.     

Anyone with information concerning insurance fraud or vehicle theft can report it anonymously by calling toll-free 800-TEL-NICB (800-835-6422), texting keyword "fraud" to TIP411 (847411) or submitting a form on our website. Or, download the NICB Fraud Tips app on your iPhone or Android device.

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 preventing, detecting and defeating insurance fraud and vehicle theft through data analytics, investigations, training, legislative advocacy and public awareness. The NICB is supported by more than 1,100 property and casualty insurance companies and self-insured organizations. NICB member companies wrote $371 billion in insurance premiums in 2013, or more than 78 percent of the nation's property/casualty insurance. That includes more than 93 percent ($168 billion) of the nation's personal auto insurance. To learn more visit


SOURCE National Insurance Crime Bureau