Andy Cook praises the Halifax move to use lie detection honestly

Well done to Halifax. After many months of hand-wringing, a major company in our market has had the guts to say that it will use lie detectors to help combat fraud.

No offence to Highway or Admiral who have been using the voice stress analysis equipment (machines that record and analyse speech to look for signs of stress that can indicate fibbing) for a while now, but to have a FTSE-100 company say that it is backing the use of technology against fraud can only be good for the industry's bottom line.

There needs to be caution. Only a year or so ago, Direct Line was caught using voice stress analysis and there was an outcry. But Halfax is taking a different line. Where Direct Line was being secretive, and perhaps justifiably so, about using voice stress analysis, Halifax is going to take a very positive stance.

The broker and its in-house insurance company St Andrews will tell claimants up front that their calls are being recorded and analysed. If you have nothing to fear, then why would you be worried? And even if the prospect of being recorded and analysed puts a bit of stress into the situation, your case will not be prejudiced terminally. The lie detection kit will allow Halifax to focus more attention on the cases that it needs to. Loss adjusters and experience claims handlers will be used to investigate further, so again if you are innocent there is nothing to fear.

Of course, there will still be an outcry. But Halifax is ready and is prepared to stand by its decision. In time, the fuss will die down and this kind of lie detection equipment will become standard kit. The only people who should be in fear are loss adjusters.

After all, it will be their skills that are being replaced.