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What will the fraud taskforce do?

A new taskforce has been announced by the government, specifically looking at insurance fraud.

As featured for the first time in the 11 December 2014 edition of the Insurance Post magazine.

The recent announcement from Secretary of State for Justice Chris Grayling that a fraud taskforce is being formed and will be led by Law Commissioner David Hertzell took many by surprise and prompts several questions.

Perhaps the most pressing being – what will the taskforce actually do? Its stated remit is to consider the issues that contribute to insurance claims fraud in general, beyond just whiplash.

Drilling down a bit further, three key areas have been highlighted that the taskforce will be asked to address, namely: the perception among the public that insurance fraud is acceptable; existing practices within the industry that fail to deter fraud; and finally to look at the law and how it could be strengthened to deter fraud.

How then might the taskforce go about its work? It will certainly be interesting to learn who will make up the taskforce as this in itself is likely to provide a few clues as to its likely direction and approach. It is, of course, easy to understand why the Law Commissioner is to chair the group, given one area being looked at is whether the current legal framework can be bolstered to fight fraud.

However, the other two highlighted areas have a far broader scope than merely considering the law, and will no doubt encompass issues such as regulation, co-operation, advertising and general working practices.

This isn’t the first time the government has announced a fraud taskforce – albeit it is the first one to focus specifically on insurance fraud.

In 2010, the Counter Fraud Taskforce was formed in order to tackle public sector fraud. Its actions included implementing Counter Fraud Champions in each department, identifying key threats and facilitating collaboration.

A cornerstone of the 2010 taskforce’s approach was to focus on prevention, and we can expect a similar theme of prevention rather than cure and tackling fraud at source to be a priority for the new taskforce. Such an approach is likely to include examining ways in which the industry can send out a stronger deterrent message through several channels including advertising, tougher sanctions, reducing rewards and creating additional barriers.

Jamie Taylor, counter fraud director, DWF

By Jamie Taylor

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.