Launched in September 2012, the first set of insurers will start loading their details in the coming weeks

Over a year since the ABI-sponsored Insurance Fraud Register (IFR) was launched, this next big measure in the fight against insurance fraud could finally be up and running in a matter of weeks.

AXA will be among the first set of big insurers that will load the names, addresses and telephone details of confirmed fraudsters onto the £1.9m system. Other members of the IFR project board that have led on the scheme include Aviva and RSA.

Launched in September 2012, the ABI and the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) said the delay has been due to “contractual issues”.

AXA Group’s fraud risk manager Richard Davies, who sits on the IFR project board, said the extra time was needed to protect genuine customers.

Davies told Insurance Times: “If we have a situation where genuine customers find themselves on the register and unable to get insurance, that to me is completely unacceptable and we are not going to allow that to happen.

“We are very much at the end stages of that process. It is fair to say to say that within a matter of weeks data will be loaded into that register.

Identifying fraudsters

In AXA, the claims and central fraud teams will work closely together to make sure they have gathered sufficient evidence to prove and identify a fraudster.

“Throughout the life of the project, we must be absolutely 100% certain they are a fraudster and everything we are doing is to make sure we deliver on that promise,” Davies added.

Although the first phase of the register is a five-year project, there is only three and a half years left owing to the time it has taken to build, test and roll it out.

ABI manager for fraud and financial crime Mark Allen said: “Clearly we’d like to launch it as quickly as we can, but we are mindful we need to get the contractual arrangements as correct as we can.

“We would anticipate the early adopter pool of insurers will start to load data certainly before the end of the year. It’s literally a case of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s.

“The bottom line is that everybody is paying for fraud at the end of the day and we need to protect our honest customers.”

Ghost broking

Refusing to be drawn into a start date, IFB director Ben Fletcher said the register would also help in the fight against ghost brokers.

In the last four-month period, ghost broking related referrals have accounted for 34% of the referrals sent into the IFB.

“We are finalising the legal agreements as quickly as we can and when we are ready we will start loading records to it,” Fletcher said.

“The fraud register will help in the fight against ghost broking; if somebody commits a fraud, their details will be loaded unto the register.”

Details of businesses that have committed a fraud will also be included.

Discussions are also ongoing into making the system available to aggregators, brokers, investigators and solicitors.