I'm astonished to learn some insurance companies feel it is necessary to introduce lie detectors in order to cut down on the number of fraudulent claims.
We all know insurance companies lose at least £1bn a year on false claims but I couldn't think of a worse PR move for the industry.
If an insurance company asked me to take a lie detector test, that would be the last time I did business with it and I'm sure that would be most people's reaction. I always thought the name of the game in insurance was to keep customers, not lose them. There are many more subtle ways of getting to the truth without upsetting the 90% of honest customers, who are the last people you want to annoy.
Outside the insurance industry, companies have been using voice stress analysis for years in order to get to the truth. Simple customer management, where a number of interviews are arranged and comparisons made, can be just as effective.
The sad fact is that one of the biggest problems insurance companies face is that it has become socially acceptable to make false claims. All of us have had experiences where a repairman suggests that you "put it on the insurance".
I even know someone who had a genuine claim but lost it by lying. His television caught fire because the metal candle holder on top of it had heated up and melted, setting the whole thing on fire. Because he thought no one would believe that anyone could be stupid enough to do such a thing he told the insurance company that the television had just conked out with age. The insurance company wrote back telling him the insurance didn't cover wear and tear and turned him down. It must be one of the few recorded instances where someone would have got more money by telling an insurance company the truth.
It is obviously in the interests of honest customers that companies get to the truth, but I don't think lie detectors will catch on. Can you imagine what it would be like if lie detectors were used more widely in society?
Some might say spin-doctors would be put out of business straight away, though I think reporters who cover politics would have bigger problems.
I would really like to see footballers tested, particularly when there are rumours of a transfer. I challenge Sol Campbell to take a test and defend his move to deadly rivals Arsenal, after having said he said he wanted to carry on playing for Spurs.