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IFB to expand fight against organised fraud beyond motor

17 October 2014

  • New 5-year IFB strategy launched following extensive industry consultation
  • Broader fraud focus will help the industry make savings and protect honest policyholders
  • IFB to lead work defining industry best practice for intelligence sharing
  • John O’Roarke: “New strategy marks timely and natural evolution of the IFB.”

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) will extend its fight against organised fraud into other product lines, following the launch of its new strategy (2015 – 2019) today.

Organised liability fraud, which includes ‘slip & trip’ scams and fraudulent industrial disease/injury claims, looks set to be top of the IFB’s hit-list as the Bureau prepares to expand its historical focus on motor from 2015.

The new IFB strategy, which has been developed following a 9-month review and consultation with stakeholders, will also see the Bureau defining best practice for intelligence sharing on behalf of the industry, with a long-term view of establishing the IFB as a central hub for all fraud data and intelligence.

Ben Fletcher, IFB Director, said:

“Organised criminal gangs (OCGs) targeting our industry are not product loyal. Until now, there has been no visibility or management of organised fraud across other product lines, beyond motor. The industry has now spoken. And whilst ‘Crash for Cash’ will remain a core focus of the Bureau moving forward, the IFB has been entrusted with leading the fight against organised fraud across all general insurance lines.”

Since its formation in 2006 to tackle ‘Crash for Cash’ fraud, IFB investigations have led to over 1,000 arrests and 260 years prison time for the UK’s most prolific motor insurance fraudsters. The industry now considers the IFB best-placed to manage organised fraud holistically.

In focus: IFB strategy consultation – results. Source: IFB strategy online survey, 2014.

  • 88% say industry management of ‘Crash for Cash’ has improved significantly in the last 5 years

  • 90% say IFB services should be extended to detect/disrupt organised fraud in other product lines

  • 88% say the IFB should expand the breadth of stakeholders it engages with to fight organised fraud

  • 76% say the IFB should be the central industry hub for all fraud data and intelligence.

Undetected general insurance fraud is estimated to cost the insurance industry £2.1 billion every year, with honest policyholders feeling the effect through increased premiums. By expanding its focus beyond motor, the IFB will provide more support for the industry and help them protect their customers from the cost of fraud.

John O’Roarke, IFB Chairman, said:

“The new IFB strategy marks a clear statement of intent from the insurance industry to continue tightening the grip on all forms of fraud. Disrupting organised fraud in new product lines and coordinating intelligence sharing is a timely and natural evolution of the IFB, which has established itself as a key component of the insurance industry’s counter-fraud strategy since 2006.”

Work in 2015 will initially focus on identifying where the IFB should focus first, taking into account the relative risks and likely return on investment from the different product lines. Collaboration with the industry in 2015 will also define options to standardise and centralise intelligence sharing.

Fletcher added: “With a single view of all insurance fraud intelligence, the IFB will be best-placed to compile industry-wide threat assessments and engage law enforcement agencies and regulators with much stronger propositions.”

In focus: IFB future strategy (2015 – 2019)

Vision statement – ‘To strategically manage fraud risks on behalf of the insurance industry as the central hub for all fraud data and intelligence.’

Strategic objectives

      i.        To manage organised, cross-industry and systematic fraud risks on behalf of the insurance industry, across all product types

     ii.        To be the ‘centre of excellence’ and ‘go to’ organisation for fraud management and data sharing

    iii.        To create the infrastructure to enable the industry to consistently share intelligence in a compliant and efficient manner.

Aidan Kerr, Head of Property, Fraud & Specialist Lines at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said:

“With the Insurance Fraud Register (IFR), IFB and Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) at the forefront of the industry crackdown, the industry has developed a robust counter-fraud strategy encompassing prevention, detection and enforcement. The expansion of the IFB’s focus beyond motor into new product lines will further enhance the industry’s detection capabilities, which in turn reduces fraud losses for both insurers and honest policyholders.”

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