Insurance fraud levels in Ireland show no signs of abating, with 70% of general and health insurance companies asserting that the level of falsified claims has risen in the last 12 months. This is according to findings from Accenture Ireland’s latest Insurance Fraud Sentiment Survey.

The survey, which analysed the ways that insurance companies are working to combat fraud, also showed that while 84% of insurers believe that digital advances are likely to increase the level of fraudulent activity, technology is becoming an increasingly important tool for them in tackling it.

Key findings from the study include:

Technology and people key areas for investment

· When it comes to combating fraudulent activity, more than two thirds (67%) of those surveyed believe that the efforts of their employees proves most helpful in identifying a possible case of fraud. One in five (19%) believe that technological developments and analytics are most useful as an identifier.
· 47% of respondents say that their main focus in tackling fraud is training and supporting investigative staff. This focus on people has decreased significantly compared with 2015, when 70% of companies referenced employees as the most important focus area.
· Enhancing and investing in technology is recognised as being increasingly important against fraud; 37% of insurers rank technology behind people as the second most important area for investment, up from 10% in 2015.

Rate of identification of fake claims increasing due to investment by insurers

· While insurance fraud is increasing, so too are the capabilities of insurance companies to handle suspicious activity, with the rate of identification of potentially fraudulent claims increasing for 69% of respondents in 2016, compared with 60% of respondents in 2015.
· Most insurance companies increased their efforts to combat fraud in 2015 (80%), and two in five have upped their efforts again in 2016 (40%).

Adam Kelly, Head of Insurance, Accenture Ireland said, “Over the last 12 months, insurers have attempted to tackle fraud through a number of measures including stricter underwriting guidelines, stronger controls and awareness programmes, investment in analytic tools and generally adopting a firmer stance on suspected fraud cases. It’s reassuring to see that the rate of identification of fraudulent claims has increased over the past year, but the challenge for insurers will be to continuously enhance their capabilities to combat it. Digital is rapidly changing how both the industry and the consumer operate, and it remains crucial that insurance companies continue to improve their capabilities to ensure they can handle incidents of fraud when they arise.”

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