Tackling online insurance policy quotation fraud

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) has an important function as the central hub for sharing insurance fraud data and intelligence. However, there are new technologies that are helping insurers to help themselves by enabling them detect behaviours during the online quotation process that could indicate cheating is going on.

When shopping around for insurance online (whether directly or via an aggregator site), visitors will often complete the quotation form and depending on the cost, they will then go back and make changes to try and get the policy price down. In most instances it will be for totally legitimate reasons, such as wanting to see what happens if they increase their excess, or the impact of removing a named driver.

However, there are other times when people may not be so honest, such as changing their status from smoker to non-smoker on a life insurance policy, or removing details of a former claim with another insurer. Each month, five hundred reports of insurance fraud of all types are received by the IFB and I suspect this is very much the tip of the iceberg.

Session monitoring

One emerging and highly compelling way that insurers can better protect themselves against this online behaviour is to monitor sessions. This essentially means that from the moment someone visits the website (or mobile app) every step of their journey, each click they make, the information they enter (and re-enter), and the length of time they spend on each field or area of each page is captured logged and securely stored. It is the same as the standard practice in use by the majority of insurers contact centres, where every call is recorded; here, every online interaction is given the same treatment.

This new level of insight can help to proactively ‘red flag’ specific transactions, or wider trends in online behaviour, which could point to visitors who are electing to be economical with the truth. However, the benefits of monitoring in this way extends beyond fraud investigation and prevention.

Improving site performance

Knowing how visitors move around the site is invaluable in making improvements to how it performs. For example, if a high percentage of people are dwelling on a particular page or even a particular area within a page for a long period of time, then perhaps there is an issue that needs to be resolved, whether it be clarity of the language being used, the layout of the page, or confusion regarding what information is being requested. In fact, I know of instances where an app has not been correctly optimised for certain mobile devices, which meant visitors could not proceed to the next step in the quotation process! Furthermore, it can provide insight in to which points visitors are leaving the site, not just cart abandonment, as well as when visitors may be most receptive to cross and upsell offers.

This new way of monitoring is a great way for the industry to strengthen its zero tolerance policy on insurance cheats. The wider it is adopted, the better it will be, not only for insurers but also honest policyholders, as the Association of British Insurers estimates that fraud adds, on average, an extra £50 to the annual insurance bill for every UK policyholder.

Audelia Boker, Glassbox Digital

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