The latest claims event calls for more police help to tackle insurance fraud

The insurance industry should demand better service from the police in order to assist the fight against fraud, according to GAB Robins head of counter-fraud and investigations service Neil Daniel.

The industry is very reliant on information from outside agencies such as the police when a claim goes to investigation, Daniel told Insurance Times’s Claims Clinic on fraud.

And while the average police response time was one month, and Humberside Police once gave a response in around 48 hours, some police forces can take two months to pass on vital information, slowing down the claims process.

“If it has taken a month or two to get information from the police, and the claim has been delayed by that time, we have significantly let that claimant down,” Daniel said.

Some police forces had adapted to demand from the industry, he added. He highlighted Manchester Police as an example of a force that had speeded up its processes.

The police may be overworked and understaffed, Daniel pointed out, adding that technology could help them cut down the time to return information.

Councils could also be slow at delivering claim information, he said. He gave Birmingham City Council as one example, saying it once took three months to deliver paperwork on a large fire claim.

By any means necessary

Daniel warned that the insurance industry’s efforts to speed up the claims process would be undermined if other parties were slow at delivering. “I would call on insurers to do something very quickly about that, because criminals are far more inventive and there is no red tape that they have to deal with.”

Solicitors DWF’s head of fraud and technical insurance, Paul Holmes, said that the insurance sector could make greater use of indemnity points when trying to defeat fraudulent claims.

He gave an example of a restaurant that had burned down, where he saw links to organised crime and terrorism. The claim was eventually turned down on a non-disclosure point.

He added that the Insurance Fraud Bureau’s figure that 70% of fraud had links to organised crime did not surprise him.

FICO insurance consulting engineer EMEA Larry Jacobson argued that the industry could do more with technology to combat fraud. “We identify the problem and address the fraudsters by having good data to work from.”