British Insurance Law Association president says sharing data is key to reduce fraud

At a recent British Insurance Law Association (BILA) lecture, held at Lloyd’s, David Hertzell, President of BILA and Chairman of the Insurance Task Force, said that more effective use and sharing of data was going to be key in helping reduce insurance fraud.

“No one knows the full extent of insurance fraud, however we do know that over £200m is spent by the UK insurance industry on fraud prevention. By its nature fraud is not generally disclosed, and it is impossible to account for things such as additional taxpayer costs of unnecessary visits to a doctor for a false medical complaint.”

Hertzell explained that the internet had given rise to a new wave of fraudulent activity – “It is much easier to be dishonest if you don’t have to look at someone.” He went on to say that the largest type of fraud is minor opportunistic fraud, which is also the hardest to detect – “a common feature is the inability to prove it has, or hasn’t, happened.”

The Task Force involved a large number of organisations including Association of British Insurers (ABI), Citizens Advice, the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA), the Financial Services Consumer Panel (FSCP), the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS). HM Treasury and Ministry of Justice officials also supported the Taskforce and attended its meetings. The Task Force was keen to make sure that its focus was not just on personal injury, where a significant amount of claims are made, and so a separate personal injury group was set up within the Task Force.

The Task Force has made a number of conclusions and recommendations, not least that the Government establish a legacy vehicle to oversee the progress of the recommendations made in the report.

Hertzell concluded the BILA talk explaining; “Lots can be done against fraud with effective use of data. Much of this data is in silo’s or held in-house for competitive advantage however in combatting insurance fraud sharing of data is going to be key.”