Ghost broker busting in the Emerald Isle


Email address intelligence can help combat insurance fraud in Ireland says Shane McCabe, Strategic Account Manager (pictured), Insurance, Ireland, LexisNexis Risk Solutions

The insurance industry works tirelessly to help eradicate fraud but as Aviva reported in December 2022, application fraud is on the up and with it, the scourge of ghost broking. This certainly seems to be the case in Ireland where LexisNexis Risk Solutions has recently expanded its operations. A survey we conducted amongst insurance purchasers in the Republic of Ireland found that around 1 in 3 people has been tempted by an advert for cheap insurance on a social media site and just over 1 in 10 has actually purchased insurance through a social media channel. This rises to 16% for 17-24year-olds. The good news however is that email intelligence is now helping Irish insurance providers in the fight against fraudsters.

As the number of internet users in Ireland continues to grow with a current 4.43 million users, projected to reach 4.73 million individuals by 2027, so does the opportunity for online crime. As nearly one third (32%) of younger Irish persons aged between 16 and 29 years either bought or renewed existing insurance policies online last year, it is easy to see how vulnerable they might be to fraud.

Whether that crime is opportunistic, for example insurance applicants seeking a cheaper quote by providing false information at application, or organised through criminal gangs ‘ghost-broking’ bogus policies to unwitting drivers, the financial and emotional fallout is massive.

Indeed, An Garda Síochána (Ireland’s National Police and Security Service) has said the ‘Advance Fee Fraud of Ghost Broking and Car Insurance Fraud’ is currently one of the six most common types of fraud happening in Ireland today.

To tackle this problem, insurance providers need to understand more about the applicant before opening the door to them as a customer. The data used by the insurance market such as public records data and shared industry data validates identity to great effect, but checks can be time-consuming and may cause friction with genuine customers. This is counter to the streamlined experience insurance providers strive to offer.

To help insurance providers protect themselves and their policyholders from fraud, email address intelligence is shifting identity verification up a gear.

This makes perfect sense considering that an email is a persistent identifier that stays with a person over time and is linked to multiple online accounts and transactions. This leaves a crumb trail – a digital footprint providing a rich transaction history, jammed with online behavioural insights, giving it the potential to be a truly powerful tool for detecting application fraud.

Taking that idea and by using billions of transactions from global payment processors and other online industries, LexisNexis® Emailage® Rapid provides an instant risk score based on an email address, to indicate whether the ID is genuine or whether it could be fraudulent or linked to fraud. This solution is already being used to great success in the banking and U.K. insurance sectors – now it’s available to insurance providers in the Republic of Ireland.

Our research highlights that only 24% of insurance customers in Ireland know about ghost broking, so it is clear that the need for insurance providers to protect themselves and their honest customers from application fraud is pressing. Meanwhile as the living wage in Ireland now exceeds the national minimum wage by €2.55 the economic hardship that brings is likely to lead to more people being tempted into cheap ‘ghost broking’ deals – after all, desperate times lead to desperate measures.

As well as continuing the educational work needed to increase the awareness and understanding of online insurance fraud, now is the time for the insurance industry in the UK and Ireland to adopt the innovations available to boost resilience to application fraud. In this way we can help protect vulnerable policyholders from falling victim to this costly crime, at a time they can least afford it.

If you work for a broker or an insurance company and would like to find out more about LexisNexis® Emailage® Rapid, CLICK HERE, leave a message and youTalk-insurance will pass your enquiry on  

Authored by LexisNexis Risk Solutions


About LexisNexis

At LexisNexis Risk Solutions, we believe in the power of data and advanced analytics for better risk management.

With over 40 years of expertise, we are the trusted data analytics provider for organisations seeking actionable insights to manage risks and improve results while upholding the highest standards for security and privacy.

We enable insurers and brokers to improve decision-making, increase profitability and transform business performance with actionable insights from our data and analytics solutions. For more information, please contact or

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