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An insurance industry investigative group with dose ties to the FBI has itself become the subject of a congressional inquiry.
The close relationship between the FBI and the insurance group, called the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), is prompting the inquiry, are charges by civil rights activists that NICB engages in racial profiling.
However, officials representing NICB say there is nothing inappropriate about their working relationship with the bureau, adding that the relationship is in the best interest of consumers. NICB officials also stress that they do not engage in racial profiling, but rather target individuals involved in criminal activities.
NICB, which is supported by about 1,000 property/casualty insurance companies, is a nonprofit crime-fighting organization that employs an investigative force of some 160 special agents most of whom are former law enforcement officials.
"It clearly strikes me as incredulous the credibility of some people making these charges, and that will come out down the road if they continue," says Judith Fitzgerald, vice president of government and public affairs for the Palos Hills, Ill.-based NICB. "They better be able to back up their own credibility."
Fitzgerald adds: "We are opening an office in Washington, D.C., and we will be prepared to completely respond to all charges and allegations, etc., raised by any congressional committee. We will be meeting with members of Congress to explain that NICB investigations do not engage in racial profiling, but rather are aimed at organized. corrupt practices."
The congressional inquiry was initiated by U.S. …