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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to a number of FAQs are listed below.

 
Q:
What is the impact of insurance fraud?
A:

Insurance fraud impacts on insurers, their customers and society in general. Reducing and deterring insurance fraud is a priority for the insurance industry. Insurance fraud is not a victimless or insignificant crime. All customers end up paying for the dishonesty of some through higher insurance premiums. This is why the industry is determined to do all it can to reduce the problem and protect honest customers, who make up the vast majority of customers.

Insurance fraud is a serious criminal offence. While the insurance industry is able to detect fraud valued at nearly £1bn, it is estimated that more than £2.1bn of insurance fraud remains undetected every year, despite insurance companies investing around £200m each year to combat fraud. We are committed to working to identify, prevent and deter fraudsters and to protect honest customers. Initiatives like the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) and the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) have led to an increase in the amount of fraud detected and in perpetrators being identified and punished.

The establishment of the Insurance Fraud Register is the latest step in this ongoing battle. This register will provide the industry with a central database of known insurance fraudsters, to detect and prevent fraud both when people seek to take out insurance and when they make a claim.


Insurance fraud cuts across every type of insurance. It ranges from opportunists deliberately failing to disclose their claims history when applying for cover or exaggerating claims by adding extra items to a genuine claim  to highly organised 'crash for cash' crime rings who contrive often dangerous road accidents and claim for phantom passengers and fictitious injuries. Insurance fraud may be committed by the policyholder or a third party claiming against an insurance policy.

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Q:
What is the IFR?
A:

The IFR is the first industry-wide database of known insurance fraudsters. It aims to:

•    protect honest customers
•    prevent and detect fraudsters
•    deter people from making fraudulent claims

The IFR is now used by insurers when making underwriting decisions and assessing claims. At this time it is available to ABI member insurers for any type of insurance product, including motor, household, health, life and savings products.

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Q:
How is the IFR funded?
A:

The IFR is currently funded on a compulsory basis by ABI general insurance members (who are not ABI core levy minimum subscribers). All other ABI members are able to participate on a voluntary basis by payment of an annual fee.

If your organisation is an ABI member and would like to join the IFR, please click on 'Register' at the top of the home page to formally register your interest.

 

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Q:
Why is the IFR needed?
A:

Insurance fraud is a serious criminal offence. There is more than £2.1bn of undetected insurance fraud every year.  Insurance fraud costs honest customers £50 on their policy. The IFR aims to:

•    Protect honest customers and help lower the cost of insurance
•    Close the loopholes of having no central register of fraudsters
•    Improve fraud detection when underwriting and claims decisions are made
•    Create a greater deterrent to potential fraudsters
•    Lower the cost to insurers for accessing this information

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Q:
Who will be providing the IFR service?
A:

The IFR is being managed and administered by the Insurance Fraud Bureau on behalf of the ABI.

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Q:
Who is delivering the project?
A:

The IFR has been developed by the insurance industry for the insurance industry.  There have been a number of organisations working together to manage, fund, build and roll out the IFR.  


The project has been developed and led by the IFR Project Board which includes the ABI, IFB, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence and insurer representation through AXA, DLG, RSA and Sabre.

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Q:
Who are the IFB?
A:

The IFB is a not for profit organisation funded by the insurance industry, specifically focussed on detecting and preventing organised and cross-industry insurance fraud.

For more information, please visit www.insurancefraudbureau.org

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Q:
Who are the ABI?
A:

The ABI is the voice of insurance, representing the general insurance, investment and long-term savings industry. It was formed in 1985 to represent the whole of the industry and today has over 300 members, accounting for some 90% of premiums in the UK.

For more information, please visit www.abi.org.uk

 

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Q:
What are the benefits of the IFR?
A:

The IFR is the first industry-wide register of known fraudsters set up to:
 
•    Protect honest customers and help lower the cost of insurance
•    Close the loopholes of having no central register of fraudsters
•    Improve fraud detection when underwriting and claims decisions are made
•    Create a greater deterrent to potential fraudsters
•    Lower the cost to insurers for accessing this information

Insurance fraud impacts customers, insurers and society in general. All customers end up paying for the dishonesty of some through higher insurance premiums.  The IFR aims to protect the honest customer by helping to:

•    Make it difficult for insurance fraudsters to engage in criminal activity
•    Make it easier for enforcement agencies to detect and identify fraudster
•    Keep the cost down of insurance premiums for honest customers

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Q:
What will be loaded onto the register?
A:

Identities of individuals who have been detected acting fraudulently towards insurers, whether in the process of applying for or renewing insurance cover, or when making a claim, will be added to the IFR by the insurer. Both policyholders and third parties will be loaded onto the IFR, as will suppliers and other professional enablers who can be shown to have acted fraudulently towards an insurer.

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Q:
What will be the criteria for loading information onto the register?
A:

There is a clearly documented set of rules applicable to loading any data to the IFR, which sets out what can and cannot be loaded by insurers. Compliance with these rules are strictly mandatory for all users. The Information Commissioner's Office has been made aware of the criteria and has not raised objections.

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Q:
How long will details be held on the register?
A:

Details will be held on the register for five years from the date the fraud condition is met.

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Q:
Who will have access to the register?
A:

The IFR has been designed to meet the needs of all insurers and other organisations working in counter-fraud. The IFR will initially be made available to ABI members and will be rolled out to other appropriate industry stakeholders in the future.

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Q:
Will customers know that they may be added to the register in future?
A:

It is already common practice for insurers to include "fair processing" notices in documents about how customers' personal data is obtained and used. Policyholders will also be advised that the fraud condition has been breached.

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Q:
How is the IFR used?
A:

The IFR helps insurers to identify whether individuals have committed insurance fraud so that they may take appropriate action. The information may be used at any point in the lifecycle of the product from point of sale, at renewal, when a claim is made or at any other point. However, the IFR is not an automated decision-making tool, but rather will form a key element of insurers' investigative process.

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Q:
What are the consequences of being on the IFR?
A:

It is up to each individual insurer to decide how the information on the register is used; there is no common approach agreed across the industry; each insurer is at liberty to adopt its own approach. Insurers may wish to apply special terms to proven fraudsters, decline to accept them as new customers or decline to invite renewal of a product.

Proven insurance fraudsters will find it harder to buy new products and to renew their existing products. They may also find it more difficult to obtain other financial services, including loans and mortgages.

If you are unable to secure insurance as a result of being loaded to the IFR, you may wish to contact the British Insurance Brokers' Association for assitance. You will find more information at www.biba.org.uk.

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Q:
How do I make a Data Subject Access Request?
A:

If you have been notified that your details have been entered on to the IFR and wish to find out what information is held, you will need to complete a Data Subject Access Request Form. 

The Data Subject Access Request Form can be sent, together with the administration fee of £10 and suitable identification, to the below address. Please note that cash is not accepted.

 

Acceptable forms of identification are:
•    Utility bill
•    Local authority tax bill
•    TV License
•    Correspondence from HMRC
•    Land Registry confirmation
•    Vehicle registration document
•    Student loan statement

 

Postal address: IFR DSARs, Linford Wood House, 6-12 Capital Drive, Milton Keynes, MK14 6XT.

Your documents will be forwarded back to the address provided following processing.

DSAR Form

Email: DSARattheifr.org.uk

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Q:
Can I get my name taken off the IFR?
A:

If an individual feels that they have been inappropriately added to the IFR they may ask the insurer who added the record to justify their action and to remove the entry if it is shown to have been incorrect. Please contact the insurer who notified you in the first instance.

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Q:
Can I obtain a copy of the information that is held about me on the IFR?
A:

Yes - by making a Data Subject Access Request.

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Q:
Who do I contact if I have a query about my information on the IFR?
A:

If you have a query about your information and the IFR, you need to contact the insurer who entered your details on to the database and they will be able to assist you in the first instance.

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Q:
How do I make a complaint?
A:

Should you wish to make a complaint in relation to information held on the Insurance Fraud Register, you should contact the insurer who notified you that you would be placed on the register in the first instance. Alternatively, you may do so via the IFB by:

Post:

IFR Data Services Manager, Linford Wood House, 6-12 Capital Drive, Milton Keynes, MK14 6XT.

Email:

complaints@theifr.org.uk

On receipt of your correspondence, the IFB will acknowledge the complaint within a reasonable timeframe.

In most instances your complaint will be handled by the insurer who entered your details on to the database, in which case, you will be provided with their relevant contact details.

In the event that your complaint should be handled by the IFB, we will conduct an investigation and provide you with a full response within 40 business days from receipt of your correspondence.

Should you be dissatisfied with the outcome of our investigations and subsequent decision, you may refer your complaint to the Financial Ombudsman Service or the courts.

If you do not know who entered your details on to the IFR, you may make a Data Subject Access Request. Please see the relevant FAQ for details.

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Q:
Will customers be able to challenge the entry on the register?
A:

Yes, if an individual feels that they have been inappropriately added to the IFR they may ask the insurer to justify their action and to remove the entry if it is shown to have been added incorrectly.

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Q:
What is the definition of insurance fraud for the IFR?
A:

Any party seeking to obtain a benefit under the terms of any insurance related product, service or activity can be shown, on a balance of probabilities, through its actions, to have made or attempted to make a gain or induced or attempted to induce a loss by intentionally and dishonestly:

•    Making a false representation, and/or
•    Failing to disclose information, and/or
•    Having abused the relevant party's position.


And, one or more of the following outcomes has taken place which relates to the fraudulent act:

•    An insurance policy application has been refused
•    An insurance policy or contract has been voided, terminated or cancelled
•    A claim under an insurance policy has been repudiated
•    A successful prosecution for fraud, the tort of deceit or contempt of court has been brought
•    The relevant party has formally accepted his/her guilt in relation to the fraudulent act in question including, but not limited to, accepting a police caution
•    An insurer has terminated a contract or a non-contracted relationship/recognition with a supplier or provider
•    An insurer has attempted to stop/recover or refused a payment(s) made in relation to a transaction
•    An insurer has challenged or demonstrated that a change to standing policy data was made without the relevant customer's authority

Provided that:

the relevant party has been notified that its claim has been repudiated, or relevant policy or contract voided, terminated, or cancelled, for reasons of fraud and/or it is in breach of the relevant terms and conditions relating to fraud within the relevant policy or contract.

 

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