How Can Insurers Work Together to Fight Fraud by Organized Crime?

May 31, 2016

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Jeroen Morrenhof, CEO at FRISS, explains that fraudsters are always looking for the weak spot. We should therefore share information about fraud networks. Not only at a national level, but also cross-border. "Fraudsters do market research. If you compare the insurance fraud business to other types of business, it pays off to commit insurance fraud.

Insurance fraud pays off

The benefits are great, the chances of being caught are low, and the sanctions once you get caught are also low. These fraudsters are smart. They make sure that they don’t walk in the spotlight. They use different modus operandi, they use different insurers, they use fake identities, just to make sure that they don’t get caught.

Fraud networks

And this is also the way how these schemes evolve. We have seen cash for crash, staged accidents, ghost broking. This is mainly due to the lack of cooperation between these insurers. The sad news is, it is far too often that a policy gets cancelled with a known fraudster and he is able to apply for an insurance at a different insurance company at the very same day and he gets accepted. What we also see in our practice, is that at one insurer someone is doing an investigation into a fraud network without knowing that another insurance company not too far away is doing the same investigation into the same network, into the same persons without knowing from each other that they are doing so. Therefore the remedy is as easy to think of as it is difficult to implement.

Joining forces

We should make sure that we join forces. Join forces by sharing data, but also by working together on investigations and to learn together. To learn together about the latest schemes, to make sure that we are ahead of the fraud game. Fraudsters are always looking for the weak spot. So next to sharing this kind of information on a national level, we should take it cross-border. Allow insurers to access your national fraud pool, to prevent fraudsters from going from one country to the other, from one insurer to the other, and to prevent them from coming into our books.

National fraud pool

Let me share with you a case. A case of one of our national fraud pools. In this national pool, a large network got detected. And it started off with a genuine claim, a genuine claim that turned out be an opportunistic fraud. And this opportunistic fraud evolved by adding more friends, more insurance companies and also car rental companies that were part of the scheme. This network was hopping from one insurer to the other. Because these insurers were sharing data in our national fraud pool, we were able to connect the dots.

Fraudsters cross borders

At the beginning of this year this group of fraudsters got convicted in court But sanctions remained low, meaning that we never know where this group of people will turn up next. I wonder why this is so difficult. Working in the insurance industry for over 20 years, I’ve never come across one person that wants to insure fraudsters. Nevertheless, I witness daily that joining forces on a national level appears to be difficult. Let alone, cross border. The technology is no longer the problem. So please, don’t let commercial reasons hold you back in effective fraud fighting.