The Knowledge discussed with an audience of brokers all the latest developments in counter-fraud that are being used in the personal lines market. Here are the highlights.
Gary Hemming, Zurich pricing analytics manager
Highlighting the relationship between what people say at application and what that translates to at the claims stage, Zurich’s Gary Hemming examined ways in which Zurich is analysing its data to understand where fraud might be occurring. He looked at the extent to which false personal injury claims can be predicted based on information supplied at application stage - and the implications for pricing.
“The data can reveal surprising patterns. For example, customers who say at application that they drive fewer miles tend to make more third-party injury claims”
Alanda Reynolds, Zurich head of underwriting fraud
Working out if customers are unwittingly misleading insurers or if they are knowingly committing application fraud is essential for accurate risk pricing. Alanda Reynolds explained how Zurich tries to work with brokers to find out whether they’re dealing with fraud or accidental misrepresentation, to avoid throwing out the good with the bad.
“We can’t afford to lose £1.20 for every £1 that’s put in. It’s understandable if a customer forgets a windscreen repair a few months ago,
but not a recent crash or their own birth date”
Jackie Basham, BeWiser Insurance, director
Hampshire-based personal lines broker BeWiser Insurance invested in point-of-sale credit checking and ID verification in order to hone its customer profile. Jackie Basham described how these extra measures have increased customer retention levels, while mid-term cancellations have dwindled.
“We’re selling more policies and retaining more customers. Investment in the credit checking and validation process has given us an edge in the market, but also protects our insurers”
Steve Jackson, VFM Services director
Conversation management company VFM Services works with insurers at the claims stage, helping to build a barrier to opportunistic fraud. Audio clips of fraudsters finding themselves under pressure to answer simple questions highlighted how some people try to take advantage.
“Brokers are good at building relationships with customers to get information. It’s areas where customers may not want to give you certain information that can be helpful to illicit more detail”
Andrew Considine, Merlin Claims regional manager
Claims handling companies sometimes find that if brokers have captured inaccurate client information, it can be hard subsequently to prove fraud. Andrew Considine explained that, while opportunists are relatively easy to catch, persistent fraudsters are harder to spot.
“It’s vital that broker staff are trained, are aware of fraud, and also that the procedures they have in place for capturing that information are absolutely watertight”
Ian Hughes, Consumer Intelligence chief executive
Consumer Intelligence used its panel of consumers to study their attitudes to fraud. The research showed that consumers are shocked at the cost of fraud to them, and that they would attend court to fight it if necessary.
“Consumers don’t like fraud. They don’t want it to happen. They want you to fight it and they want to work with you; they’re even prepared to take a day off work to help you to fight it”
Donna Scully, Carpenters Solicitors, partner
Donna Scully, partner at the claimant law firm Carpenters Solicitors, attributed the personal injury claims problem in part to the fact that insurers do not always require medical evidence before they make a payout.
“I understand that keeping costs down and quick processing is good, but one of the things I’m really strong about is: no medical, no damages”
DCI Bob Wishart, City of London Police detective superintendent
Bob Wishart is the detective superintendent at the economic crime unit for City of London Police, and heads the new insurance fraud enforcement department (IFED). He outlined how organised crime groups use insurance fraud to fund other criminal activity.
“It’s about sending out a message that the insurance companies are no longer an easy target. If you do an insurance fraud, then we may well come knocking on your door”
Karl Helgesen, Zurich motor claims director
Zurich director of motor claims Karl Helgesen spoke about the challenges in supporting genuine claimants while also cracking down on fraud. He highlighted the necessity of medical evidence, and why tightening up legal procedures and communicating with claimants are both essential.
“As an industry and as a market, we’ve got to push for more credibility. We need to drive greater acceptance in court surrounding bio-mechanical evidence”
Ian McManus, Zurich head of personal lines broker
Ian McManus introduced the day, outlining why tackling fraud is an important area of focus for Zurich, and the steps that the insurer is taking to stamp out fraudulent claims.
“The fight against insurance fraud is a high priority for Zurich and the industry; we want to raise the debate on this issue”