Over 90% of industry said to support new investigative body

Work is to start on developing the working protocols for the new Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), following claims that the initiative has near unanimous support from the market.

AXA fraud risk manager Richard Davies said the IFB had the support of more than 90% of the industry.

"We are now in a position to build the protocols for the bureau through industry workshops, which will define the framework for how the bureau will work."

He said he was confident that the insurer-funded investigative body would proceed as planned with unanimous industry support, adding that the bureau could be operational by March.

Trevor Bedeman, Lloyds TSB Insurance head of customer data management and IFB chairman, said the board would initially comprise insurance representatives that had committed to the bureau.

"The entities and the extent of their participation on the board is the next thing we need to consider," he said.

The position of insurance fraud manager was posted in the Sunday Times last week, but details of who will sit on the board are yet to be finalised, although the ABI said it would work closely with the project committee.

Details of the members that have committed to the board remain secret as negotiations are still in process.

However, Insurance Times understands Zurich has signed an agreement to pool its data with other insurers and has indicated its intention to be involved.

Lloyds TSB, AXA, Norwich Union, Royal & SunAlliance and Royal Bank of Scotland have been involved with the initial trials.

The IFB will specifically target organised fraud activity. Although it will not have any statutory powers, it will combine the skills of fraud specialists and collate data on fraudulent trends to investigate any suspicious activity.

Last year, 20 insurance companies contributed £20,000 each to set up the initial pilot.