Around 45% of household claims made to AXA were not paid after the claimants were screened using VFM Services' anti-fraud system.

Of the 45%, 33% of claimants withdrew their claim, nearly 7% of claims were not pursued, while over 5% of the claims were repudiated.

The claimants were screened over a four-month period using VFM's conversation management technique.

The conversation management process determines whether a claimant is genuine by drawing on techniques used in applied psychology.

During the pilot, VFM assessed a random sample of 937 household accidental damage claims made to AXA between October 2003 and February 2004.

The results apply to the 607 claims that have been resolved. Another 330 claims remain outstanding.

In a similar sample of claims, which AXA investigated without using the VFM technique, only 4.2% of claims were not paid. Of the 4.2%, 2.2% of claimants withdrew their claim, 1.9% of the claims were not pursued, while 0.1% were repudiated.

AXA claims director David Williams said the VFM trial had produced "very good figures".

He added that AXA was in negotiations to roll-out the VFM system to 40,000 accidental loss and damage claims.

VFM Services' conversation management technique is one of a number of approaches insurers are adopting to tackle the problem of fraudulent claims.

Several leading insurers have adopted Digilog's lie detection technology to screen household and motor claims, as well as third party accident and personal injury claims (see page 6).

Admiral recently revealed the results of a Digilog pilot it had run on motor theft claims.

In the trial, around 20% of claimants withdrew their claim after being assessed using the Digilog system.