The Association of British Insurers (ABI) is closing its fraud and crime department as part of an ongoing review of the insurer trade body's structure.

John Wagstaff, the current crime and fraud prevention bureau boss, and his assistant, Katherine Frost, are leaving at the end of March and the department's roles will be split.

Fraud will now be tackled by an anti-fraud committee comprising a wide cross-section of industry experts. A new anti-fraud manager is currently being recruited.

ABI head of general insurance John Parker refused to reveal who is on the new committee.

It is is believed that Direct Line's fraud head Bill Trueman is one member of the ABI's old less-formalised fraud committee who has been asked to join to the new group.

Parker said the reshuffle would allow the department to concentrate more heavily on fraud, with crime already being looked after by other ABI departments.

“The move is supported by senior figures in the industry,” Parker said.

He said the new committee and manager would liaise more heavily with police and re-examine the ABI's methodology for formulating fraud statistics.

The move is part of an ongoing review of the ABI's staff, practices and aims.

An ABI spokesman said the review began about seven months ago and promised any high profile new appointments would be publicised. Only two staffers in routine jobs have left so far.

“As part of that, some people may go and others may come,” he said.