In the Media

ABI claims milestone as fraud register launched

PUBLISHED September 13, 2012

Thursday 13 September 2012 by John Hyde

Insurers will add suspected fraudsters to a list that will be shared by all other insurance companies - even if the claimant has not been convicted.

The Association of British Insurers today confirmed the creation of the Insurance Fraud Register containing details of what it calls 'known' fraudsters. Insurance companies will add names to the list when they suspect a new claim to be fraudulent, notifying the client they are on the register and telling them they then have to right of appeal.

The ABI said it has consulted with the information commissioner and human rights group Liberty before setting out the terms of the register. The group said action is needed to halt the 2,670 fraudulent insurance claims made every week, worth a total of £19m.

A spokesman for the ABI said appearing on the register did not mean people were 'blacklisted' from ever making a claim again, but would act as a deterrent to anyone contemplating a fraudulent claim.

Speaking at an ABI conference today, director general Otto Thoresen said his organisation 'makes no apologies' for a zero-tolerance approach to insurance fraud. 'From the highly organised "crash for cash" motor scams to the opportunistic exaggeration of a genuine claim, insurers are determined to do what it takes to protect honest customers.

'The development of the Insurance Fraud Register marks a milestone in the fight against fraud. It reinforces the strong message that insurance cheats can expect difficulties in obtaining future insurance, credit and other financial products, as well as getting a criminal record.'

Thoresen said he wanted at least one quarter of the insurance market participating in the register by the end of the year. In time, he added, the register may be rolled out to brokers and other stakeholders - including solicitors - although this would not happen until the scheme is running properly.

Karl Tonks, president of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, said his group was keen to work with the ABI to combat fraud: 'What is needed is for insurers to agree to share their wealth of information with claimant lawyers so that we can be the gatekeepers on fraud and help weed out false claims at the outset.'