The introduction of ID cards could help save insurers millions of pounds,the government has claimed.

The ABI is working with the Home Office to combat identity fraud,a crime the ABI says costs the insurance industry £22m a year.

The figure formed part of the £1.72bn that the Home Office identity card steering committee believes identity fraud costs the UK economy as a whole.

The estimates were published ahead of a forthcoming struggle to get the government's controversial ID cards scheme past Parliament.

Junior minister Andy Burnham said the cards, alongside other initiatives to tackle identity fraud,would help make inroads into the costs of the crime.

Burnham said: "The combination of a secure national identity register and a robust means of verifying identity will be an important safeguard for individuals,public services and the private sector against identity fraud."

The government faces a struggle to get ID cards on to the statute book when the scheme comes before the Commons next Monday.

The ABI is part of cross-government Identity Fraud Forum,which provides specialistadvice to the Home Office identity card steering