UK national fraud bureau seen as way of curbing insurance crime

The ABI is considering the establishment of a UK equivalent of the US National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).

Members of the ABI's anti-fraud committee are liaising with the NICB as they look into the feasibility of launching a similar body in the UK.

AXA fraud risk manager Richard Davies, who sits on the ABI anti-fraud committee, said: "We are talking to the NICB and they are being very co-operative."

The NICB is a not-for-profit organisation that receives support from approximately 1,000 industry-related bodies. These include: US commercial and personal line property/casualty insurers, workers' compensation insurers, self-insured organisations, vehicle rental companies, retailers, utility providers and transport-related companies.

It partners with insurers and law enforcement agencies to try to identify, detect and prosecute insurance criminals.

ABI head of financial crime prevention Debra Weekes highlighted the

RAC Auto Windscreens case as an example of the insurance industry's need to centralise the fight against fraud.

Fitters at RAC Auto Windscreenswere recently found to have been billing insurers for repairs they had not carried out.

RAC Auto Windscreens subsequently refunded all the insurers affected.

"The RAC case affected a large part of the industry and it raised the issue of whether or not the insurance industry is as well organised as it should be when dealing with problems such as staged-accident rings," said Weekes.

'The RAC case was a typical example of a case which needed central handling."

Weekes added that the ABI was currently investigating whether or not there should be "protocols and mechanisms" in place for fighting insurance fraud.

Weekes said the ABI was also addressing the issue of establishing procedures dealing with the appointment of investigators when a large number of insurers are involved.