Industry sceptical about review of guidelines

Fraud Charter members expressed concern about the effect the review of the sentencing guidelines will have on the fight against fraud.

Responding to the results of the Insurance Times fraud survey, which shows that 87% of respondents felt punishments for fraudsters were not strict enough, the Charter members questioned how effective the review will be in increasing the severity of punishments.

The group were asked if they felt the review of the guidelines would cause a sea change in the fight against fraud.

GAB Robins head of counter fraud and investigations service Neil Daniel said: “My answer would be no. Critically, the bigger impact will be if we get better at catching people, otherwise the sentences make no difference. There is a lot more that we can do in the industry, like using a whole raft of other legislation such as confiscation orders.”

The group discussed the importance of finding an appropriate sanction on a case by case basis.

DAC Beachcroft partner Antonia Ford said: “Don’t we need to look at a sanction that impacts that fraudster the most? For some people a custodial sentence means they get three square meals a day and they’ll be warm. For others it would be a big deterrent.”

Keoghs partner and director of counter-fraud strategy James Heath said that even relatively small punishments could also be viewed as a success in some cases, and that a “good” punishment does not always mean a lengthy custodial sentence: “[The review] begs the question ‘what does good look like?’ good looks like something that impacts on their ability to commit fraud again and results in a change in lifestyle.”

Read the full Insurance Times Fraud Report here