ABI in talks with Polaris to create database to track habitual claimants

AXA has called for a specific industry-wide database to tackle habitual travel fraudsters.

According to AXA head of property claims, travel claims and outsourcing Pat Brady, there is an urgent need to log and track fraudulent claimants using databases similar to those used for personal injury and drivers.

Brady said:"There is CUE PI for personal injury claimants and the motor insurers database for drivers. But the highest claims leakage is in the travel sector. We desperately need a database to track habitual fraudsters."

The ABI said earlier this year it wanted to compile an anti-fraud database that covered all classes of business including travel. An ABI spokesman said: "We are currently in discussions with Polaris to use the claims underwriting exchange as a way of tracking travel claims. We are on the case," he added.

Brady said this was why AXA had decided to extend its feasibility studies with VFM for travel and property claims. "Conversational management has so far worked well for us. We prefer this form of claim assessment over the voice stress analysis approach because our big corporate clients get nervous over the idea of lie detectors."

She said that travel insurance was "undervalued" at the moment and with cheaper flights and cheaper holidays, travellers were not taking out adequate travel insurance.

According to research from AXA, people will spend £104.8bn on holidays this year, around £3,317 each. Almost 35 million people will be taking holidays, but of those travelling abroad 15% will not arrange insurance. This means up to £12.2bn of holiday expenditure will not be insured.

Brady added: "Rising medical costs in the US is the greatest challenge for us and a lot of policies don't offer adequate cover to pay the exorbitant bills.

"The other aspect people forget is that travel insurance is an indemnity policy so it takes in value depreciation."

Meanwhile, AXA has issued guidance to its 60 agencies, which have delegated authority for household and travel claims, on the conduct of insurance claims handling.

Brady said that brokers were being asked to fill in guidance notes to show that they were fit and proper. "The problem is that many of the brokers can tell you verbally what they do. But under FSA rules, they must show a handbook. Many have not got the right documentation which they must have by 1 January."

Brady added that 60% of brokers contacted had responded but for those that either did not comply or did not want to comply, the operation would be brought back in-house.