Cost of motor insurance: follow up - Transport Committee Contents

Written evidence from the Association of British Insurers (ABI)

In light of the report of the Transport Select Committee which calls upon the insurance industry to do more to tackle fraud, I thought you would be interested to learn that that the industry has firmly committed to create a dedicated police insurance fraud investigation unit and to set up an insurance fraud register. These two initiatives will make it harder than ever to get away with making a fraudulent claim and ensure that convicted fraudsters face the full consequences.

The police unit will become operational on 1 January 2012. It will investigate specific insurance frauds referred to it by insurers, regional police forces and the Insurance Fraud Bureau. We are confident that the unit will deliver a step change in enforcement activity against fraudsters, deter future offending and reduce losses. It will also recover and return to the industry assets lost to fraudsters under the Proceeds of Crime Act and other civil measures.

The unit, which will consist of around 35 full-time police officers and other specialised support staff lead by a Detective Chief Inspector located at the City of London Police headquarters, will operate routinely throughout England and Wales with the ability on occasion to work in Scotland and Northern Ireland. It will have access to wider police resources and capabilities such as surveillance teams and forensic support. The establishment of the unit will not mean that regional police forces will stop investigating insurance crime, within their more limited resources.

The Insurance Fraud Register is an industry-owned database that will provide a single platform to enable insurers to share details on all known insurance fraudsters across insurance sectors. It will become operational in early 2012. The register is visible proof that the industry continues to strengthen its controls against all types of fraud. In meeting the regulator's expectation that the industry seeks to manage fraud on a collaborative basis, it will enable the industry to provide consolidated data to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau.

The ABI will continue to work closely with the National Fraud Authority and the Insurance Fraud Bureau to further develop the industry's anti-fraud strategy. We would welcome the support of the Transport Select Committee in sending public messages that insurance fraud is unacceptable and will be tackled vigorously.

I will of course keep you and the committee in touch with developments as we move towards full implementation early in 2012.

July 2011

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