How Insurers and Arson Investigators Have Taken The Profit from Arson-for-Profit Schemes

Speaking to the California Conference of Arson Investigators

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On October 19, 2023 I had the honor to speak to the California Conference of Arson Investigators Annual Seminar in San Louis Obisbo, California on taking the profit out of arson for profit. I learned as much from my audience as they learned from me and firefighters, arson investigators and federal investigators learned about the rights and duties of insurers and arson investigators when fraud – by definition arson-for-profit – is suspected.

Part of my talk included:

  • Most structures are Insured against the Peril of Fire.
  • Arson damages property by fire.
  • Arson is not excluded.
  • Few insurance companies are equipped to deal with an arson-for-profit.
  • Arson is a crime involving fire.
  • Damage by fire is indemnified by insurance.
  • There is no “arson defense” in an insurance policy.
  • An arson fire is only a fire – a named peril the risk of loss of which is insured.
  • I explained the Importance of parts of California statutes like:
  • California Penal Code Section 550(a) It is unlawful to do any of the following, or to aid, abet, solicit, or conspire with any person to do any of the following:(1) Knowingly present or cause to be presented any false or fraudulent claim for the payment of a loss or injury….
  • California Penal Code Section 550(5) Knowingly prepare, make, or subscribe any writing, with the intent to present or use it, or to allow it to be presented, in support of any false or fraudulent claim.
  • (b) It is unlawful to do, or to knowingly assist or conspire with any person to do, any of the following:(1) Present or cause to be presented any written or oral statement as part of, or in support of or opposition to, a claim for payment or other benefit pursuant to an insurance policy, knowing that the statement contains any false or misleading information concerning any material fact.(2) Prepare or make any written or oral statement that is intended to be presented to any insurer … knowing that the statement contains any false or misleading information concerning any material fact.

California Insurance Code Section 1871.1

 Insurers and their agents, while they are investigating suspected fraud claims, shall have access to all relevant public records …

California Insurance Code Section 1875.2

If any insurer has reason to suspect that a fire loss was caused by incendiary means, the insurer shall furnish an authorized agency with all relevant information acquired during its investigation of the fire loss and cooperate in an investigation by an authorized agency.

California Insurance Code Section 1875.3

  • An authorized agency shall notify the insurer, if known, and at the expense of the insurer, whenever it has reason to believe that a fire loss was not accidentally caused.
  • The agency shall also release to the claimant’s insurer specific information regarding the fire loss at the earliest time possible unless it determines that an ongoing investigation would be jeopardized.
  • California Insurance Code Section 1875.4 In the absence of fraud or malice, no insurer or person acting in its behalf who (a) furnishes information whether oral or written, pursuant to this article, or (b) assists in any investigation conducted by an authorized agency, shall be liable for damages in a civil action, nor shall any authorized agency which releases information pursuant to this chapter be liable for damages in a civil action.The act of furnishing information required pursuant to this article shall not constitute an act of fraud or malice.I then provided several examples of arson for profit schemes that were defeated by arson investigators working together with insurers and the investigators and claims people working with the insurers.

Details are available from some of my books like:

Insurance Fraudsters Deserve No Quarter Available as a paperback here.  Available as a hardcover here. Available as a Kindle Book here. 

The Examination Under Oath to Resolve Insurance Claims  Available as a Kindle book Available as a paperback. Available as a hardcover.

Insurance Fraud – Volume I & Volume II Second Edition, Available as a Kindle book; Available as a Hardcover;  Available as a Paperback & Available as a Kindle bookAvailable as a HardcoverAvailable as a Paperback

Fictionalized True Insurance Crime Books available at the Insurance Claims Library at

(c) 2023 Barry Zalma & ClaimSchool, Inc.

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About Barry Zalma

An insurance coverage and claims handling author, consultant and expert witness with more than 48 years of practical and court room experience.
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