DES PLAINES, Ill. — The National Insurance Crime Bureau announced late last week that it has launched a program to help vehicle finance companies locate stolen, illegally exported, abandoned and impounded vehicles.

Through the program, vehicle finance companies can receive real-time notices of recovered stolen and impounded vehicles, and those exported or located in foreign countries, officials explained.

This notification process is thanks to NICB's data-sharing agreement with the FBI's National Crime Information Center, which allows NICB to maintain a "mirror image" of the FBI's vehicle theft database.

Using internal data analytics and investigative capabilities, the NICB said it can determine when and where a vehicle has been recovered or impounded and provide finance companies with real-time notification.

"Finance companies pay the price every time one of their financed vehicles is stolen, illegally exported, or left unidentified or abandoned in a law enforcement impound lot," pointed out Robert Wilson, NICB's membership director who heads the new program.

"With nearly 100 years of experience in locating and recovering stolen vehicles, along with our longstanding exclusive relationships with law enforcement agencies worldwide, the NICB provides finance companies with unique solutions to help them put their money back where it belongs — their bottom line," he continued.

Program features include:

1. Impound Services: Through data-sharing agreements, the NICB gathers impounded vehicle information from law enforcement agencies and cross-references it with finance company vehicle data. Notifications of matching records are immediately sent to participating companies.

2. Interdiction Services: To help stop the flow of stolen U.S. vehicles sold on the black market worldwide, specially trained NICB agents, vehicle identification specialists and investigative staff work with U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents at key seaports and border crossings nationally to review export records and match them against files from multiple databases which contain salvage, rental fleet, previous export, insurer theft data, purged FBI records and lien/finance vehicle records.

Identified stolen vehicles are interdicted prior to exportation and notifications are provided to finance companies so they can recover their assets.

3. Repatriation Services: The NICB locates, identifies and returns stolen and impounded vehicles from foreign countries, most notably Mexico. Dedicated NICB agents and staff gather information about these vehicles and cross-reference it against theft data to uncover matches. Finance companies receive notification of the identification and are provided the opportunity to have their vehicles returned to the United States.

"This program offers vehicle finance companies significant benefits. Through it, they can capitalize on the NICB's expertise and exclusive data-sharing agreements to support the prompt and accurate location and recovery of their vehicle assets and reduce financial exposure to impound lot vehicle depreciation and vandalism," Wilson highlighted.

For more information, contact NICB's member services group at (800) 447-6282, Ext. 7001.