An internet system has been launched that is claimed will help the insurance industry beat fraud through improved data sharing.

DVS Register allows the online sharing of information throughout the claims process, permitting users to authenticate claimants' and witnesses' identities and obtain information on previous and ongoing claims.

It captures information, such as the claimants' personal details, during the search inquiry process and makes it immediately available to other users.

DVS consultant Steve Ward said: "By sharing information in this way, a potentially fraudulent or a multiple application for compensation can be identified crucially at a very early stage. It will help identify habitual fraudsters."

He added that the system was initially targeted at personal injury claims, but would be extended to other areas. The database contains 125 million records from a variety of sources, including claimant records going back to 1995.

Ward said the system differed from the insurance industry's embryonic Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) in that it was not dependent, like the IFB, on data being downloaded for analysis.

"It is complementary to the systems that insurance companies already have in place. It will help to give them an early warning."

The system went live at the end of November.