Fight against fraud hindered because ABI code not being observed by police

Police apathy to the agreed code of behaviour in claims fraud is thwarting the industry's fight against the crime, according to the ABI.

The code, agreed by the ABI and the Association of Chief Police Officers, came into force on 1 October 2002.

But the ABI said that knowledge of the code among police was "quite patchy". The code states that insurers could request information from the police, including the crime report, and would be guaranteed a response.

There had been a protocol for communication between insurers and police in place since 1978, but channels were not clearly defined.

ABI anti-fraud head Debra Weekes said there were "always going to be problems with settling in" but added that the police had rushed the implementation procedure.

"The ABI was quite happy for police to pick a launch date and they picked one quite quickly," she said. "We are sure they were trying to be helpful, but the effect was that knowledge of the agreement among police is quite patchy."

She said there would be a formal review of the agreement after it had been in place a year.

Claims Management and Adjusting (CMA) director Philip Swift said not enough police officers were aware of the agreement.

"It depends on which constabulary you deal with," he said. "Some are fantastic. The agreement makes the exchange of information much easier from our point of view," he said.

Swift suggested the procedure was "not quite slick enough". He said it took two to four weeks to get information back. "There is usually a good quality of information, except with the Met," he said.