The Workshop focused on the critical issues surrounding arson and associated crimes, such as fraud, and dealt with relevant investigation methods, misconceptions and preventative measures. Undetected arson places a significant cost burden on the insurance industry and consequently has a negative impact on the country's economy. In the current situation, it is predicted that fraudulent claims could result in severe pressure on underwriting margins of insurance companies, driving the cost of short term insurance ever higher.
Presentations on relevant cutting-edge technology and information on topics such as arson recognition and risk reduction, fire investigation, new techniques in chemical analysis of fire debris samples, use of the Internet as an investigative tool and a "live burn" demonstration comprised the content of the workshop.
Delegates from the short-term insurance industry, insurance investigators, insurance loss adjusters, fire investigators, private investigators, police investigators, fire brigade officers, risk managers and members of the legal fraternity attended the seminar. They witnessed a live fire at the CSIR's test area where a building and contents were set alight. A camera and sensors rigged on the inside of the building provided the onlookers with live images on television screens; roof, floor and wall temperatures were displayed on monitors. The local Fire Brigade extinguished the fire.
Presenters included Mr Robert Toth, President: Colorado Chapter International Association of Arson Investigators, Mr Peter Davey, M.D. Fire Protection Association of South Africa, Mr Dave Casey, CEO Risk Consultancy Network and several experts in this field from the CSIR.
Through its crime prevention initiative, the CSIR is committed to the reduction of arson and associated crimes, and offers support through technology-based solutions, social crime prevention measures, and knowledge and information management.