New Insurance Fraud Bureau will be in secret location

A crime-busting supremo is being secretly recruited to run the new Insurance Fraud Bureau, which is to be launched next year.

The chief will head up the operation at at a secret location - likely to be in London. A source suggested that he or she would earn a salary of around £70,000.

The bureau's location will not be revealed due to fears that thwarted fraudsters could pose a threat to staff.

The bureau will have an investigative role with secretarial support. It will probe cases uncovered by insurers working together using the new anti-fraud database, which will be ready early in 2006.

It is believed that the bureau will initially employ less than six people, although numbers may be increased.

Richard Davies, AXA fraud risk manager, said the bureau will focus on organised crime and aim to make industry savings in the region of £50m a year. Further aims are to "disrupt networks and work on recovering money as well as pressing hard for prosecutions."

He added that the bureau would forge close links with the police and the Serious Organised Crime Agency.

Funded by the insurance industry, the bureau has the backing of the major composite insurers. Although some smaller insurers continue to sit on the fence, it is understood they have been contacted to gauge interest and request support.

Chris Hannant, the ABI's head of financial crime prevention, said: "I believe insurers will find the potential savings will more than compensate for the cost involved."

The ABI will not be directly linked to the bureau. Hannant said he was working closely with the insurers involved.