As technology develops and changes, it is changing the way crime is committed – including insurance fraud. IAG New Zealand’s Fraud Intelligence Team has been monitoring these developments and changing the way it investigates fraud to keep ahead of these trends to ensure the vast majority of customers – the honest ones - don’t end up paying the price of crime through increased premiums.
“We are seeing the use of technology in
fraudulent insurance claims increase, particularly in the
use of online market places to facilitate fraud,” said
Natasha McFlinn, IAG Fraud Intelligence
“Digitally forged documents have been around
for some time but we are seeing an increase in them as
people’s familiarity with digital technology
In some claims, fraudsters pretend to own
items claimed for that they’ve never owned using computer
technology to suggest evidence of ownership.
online spaces have also become a popular destination for
fraudsters. “Through online marketplaces some fraudsters
seek to obtain a second hand item cheaply and then claim
they have had a brand new or higher model item stolen.
Others try to sell unwanted items that they claimed were
stolen and have had replaced via an insurance claim.
monitor sites like Trade Me closely to prevent and detect
fraudulent activity, so the message is that fraudsters will
In New Zealand, IAG has a variety of
tools and methods that it uses to detect fraud. It uses
internationally recognised software to detect and respond to
fraudulent claims. The software is highly regarded and used
to detect criminal activity by military intelligence, law
enforcement and financial institutions in over 100 countries
around the world.
On top of that, IAG NZ has a team of
fraud analysts and a team of fraud investigators, totalling
25 people whose fulltime job is to combat insurance fraud.
These individuals come from a wide range of law enforcement,
intelligence, statistical and insurance backgrounds, so the
teams have a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on
and can cover any possible fraudulent incident. They also
engage external experts as required such as forensic, fire
or traffic crash specialists.
People often underestimate
the consequences of committing insurance fraud. “Our team
also checks for suspicious claims on ICR (the Insurance
Claims Register), which is a central database that the
majority of insurers load claim details into, enabling
insurers to check a customer’s claims history. If you are
flagged in the ICR for fraudulent activity, it’s unlikely
you’ll be able to get insurance again which could cause
serious problems if you’re trying to buy a house and need
insurance to get a mortgage. We have also been involved in
cases where the end result was jail time for the
Insurance fraud pushes the cost of premiums
up for everyone but customers can help by reporting
instances of insurance fraud and taking steps to protect
themselves and their items.
“Customers can also register
the serial numbers of items they own on the Police SNAP
website, meaning if they’re ever stolen Police can return
the items if recovered. Registering also helps prevent
criminals from on-selling stolen