Loss adjusters are set to suffer a blow to workloads after a leading bancassurer announced it is to adopt lie detection technology.
Halifax Bank of Scotland's (HBOS) insurance arm is set to run a three-month pilot using voice stress analysis - a technique that can detect changes in speech caused by stress, which is held to indicate lies.
Digilog will supply the system, which includes a conversation management package that uses advanced questioning to catch out fraudsters. Experts argue the system, which takes 15 minutes per claim, will eliminate the need for wide-ranging investigations carried out by loss adjusters.
HBOS's general insurance counter fraud manager Dave Berry confirmed that the insurer is expecting to launch the pilot, exclusively on its household lines, at the beginning of September.
Berry said: "We're currently developing the scripting and the software in order to implement the Digilog system.
"Digilog will enable us to focus in on lines of enquiry - it will also enable us to sift out a large number of genuine claims."
Berry added that it was likely that HBOS's insurance arm would enter into a permanent deal with Digilog once the pilot is concluded.
"I can't see the pilot not being a success, given the results Digilog have had," he said.
HBOS's pilot with Digilog has been outsourced to the investigation company Brownsword.
Brownsword is currently running a three-month Digilog pilot with Admiral.
If successful, rivals would be forced to follow Halifax's suit and that could mean bad news for loss adjusters.
"By using Digilog, we will be handing loss adjusters cases on a plate - when they are instructed they will be able to follow a more direct line of enquiry," Berry said.
Brownsword chief executive David Brownsword said: "Loss adjusters will be very worried - with Digilog, you can tell if a claim is genuine in 15 minutes and settle it."
But loss adjusters have hit back at claims that their business is under threat from systems such as Digilog.
A Crawford spokesman said: "People forget we work in a people industry so there will always be the need for proper field investigations. Voice stress analysis systems are a good tool to have in the armoury, but they are not the be-all and end-all."
"Research has shown 55% of communication consists of visual expressive behaviour which is only apparent in face-to-face interviews."
"There are also the issues regarding how voice stress analysis systems works when confronted by language barriers, we live in a multicultural society and we often have to use interpreters when carrying out investigations."