Tom Flack says as the IFB publicises its recent successful investigations it now needs to raise its game, and for that it will need more resources and co-operation from other government agencies

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has come a long way in its first year. Judging from the escalating size and scope of organised fraud, however, it has a long way to go. Its first target – appeasing the stakeholders – has been successfully met, having delivered a return on investment at a rate of five to one.

An anticipated savings figure of £15m has also been circulated.

In the grand scheme of things, some would argue this is a mere drop in the ocean.

Despite the fact that almost everyone is keen to do it, assigning a pound value to the IFB’s work risks missing the point.

Even if it were possible to quantify such a sum, it is the IFB's role as a viable deterrent to fraudsters that makes it so significant. Certainly no one can doubt that 74 arrests, and 20 police investigations, have made their mark.

“In order to widen the snare of its criminal net, the IFB must forge closer relationships – routed in the sharing of intelligence as well as data – with government agencies. There appears to be growing support in Westminster for such a move

As the IFB’s profile is raised, so too will be the expectations placed upon it. And with estimates suggesting there could be as many as 22,000 cash-for-crash incidents over the next one and half years, including one involving increasingly large commercial vehicles, the stakes have never been higher.

In order to widen the snare of its criminal net, the IFB must forge closer relationships – routed in the sharing of intelligence as well as data – with government agencies.

There appears to be growing support in Westminster for such a move. With the activities of fraudsters being connected to other forms of criminal activity, perhaps this is not so surprising.

Beyond curbing criminal activity, the work of the IFB could have an even wider benefit. Though it may not impact consumer consciousness through the lowering of premiums, it could play a key role in convincing the public that the insurance industry is capable of taking the lead in developing proactive solutions to the complex problems that afflict the financial services sector.

And that would be a refreshing change.