The government needs to get a move on to tackle fraud, says Carpenters director, Donna Scully

We all know that good things take time.

Donna Scully, Carpenters

There has to be a limit though. A point at which someone, anyone, gets hold of the fraud agenda and sufficiently invests resource and energy to drive it on. We’re drifting at the moment without a captain issuing orders. This may not have been the universal feeling at the first meeting after the summer of the Insurance Times Fraud Charter group, but I’ll wager it was shared by a good many.

Over the summer the government published an update on progress on the recommendations of the Insurance Fraud Taskforce. Whilst this was welcome, unfortunately it was at least a year out of date (and it’s been something of a busy year), making the decision to publish it in this state look lazy and perfunctory. Drifting.

As David Hertzell was keen to point out at the meeting, progress has been made by the IFT on many fronts. The problem, of course, is that the claims market, and the wider political and regulatory world, does not remain in a suspended state. It is constantly developing and evolving. With no legacy vehicle, and government time, resources and energy being increasingly sapped by the behemoth that is Brexit, the battle to combat fraud – and it is a battle – must continue to adapt and develop as well. The aggregators have a huge role to play but must still be convinced that extra fraud checks will not damage their customer experience. If they do not actively join the fight, they may need to be persuaded more aggressively by the government.

With the Treasury and the MoJ seemingly unable or unwilling to grab the wider fraud agenda by the scruff of the neck, and no-one else directly empowered to drive the agenda, drift and stagnation looks inevitable. The Portal may have a significant role to play, but given that the Government’s whiplash reforms will have a huge impact on its model and structure, it is going to be very busy elsewhere. The whiplash reforms to effectively deregulate claims are stumbling on, despite a fall in the number of claims and continued doubts about whether it will all be worth it.

Given that data sharing is key to fighting fraud, there are the challenges presented by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) when it comes into force in May 2018. The ICO may like to say that it’s an evolutionary step rather than a revolutionary one, but it urgently needs to work with other departments and regulators to ensure that it does not raise barriers, just at the time when we need to be breaking them down.

The Insurance Times  fraud charter group can agree on much and provides a very useful forum for a range of organisations to identify issues and challenges, but it can’t solve them. It is not a full legacy vehicle that has authority and status but it has a will to do more and see more done.