Insurance fraud can present in many guises. Some are basic and unimaginative, while some are far more subtle and ingenious. The fundamental principle of commission of fraud tends to be the same – deliberate non-disclosure or misrepresentation of material information with the intention to obtain unauthorized benefits.
The extent of the problem
According to Indiaforensic Research, India’s insurance sector loses INR 300 billion (US$6 billion) every year due to fraud, representing a loss of 8.5% of total industry revenue. Additionally, six times more fraud is seen within the life insurance sector (which accounts for 86% of total insurance fraud) than in the non-life / general insurance sector.
Indiaforensic also found in 2011 that mis-selling of insurance policies was responsible for 36% of fraud, and fake documentation for 33% of fraud in the life insurance sector.
RGA India recently conducted a survey with our clients which compared the incidence of fraud in 2012 with 2011. The survey, scheduled to be published in late 2013, found that 41% of the participants said mis-selling has decreased due to proactive measures taken at the proposal stage to control fraud. However, 56.5% of the participants said submission of fake documents has risen by 7.3% and incidence of non-disclosure has increased by 7%. Additionally, more than half of the survey participants believe this recent increase in fraudulent activity has contributed at least 3% to the cost of insurance, with some participants believing the cost increase may be as high as 20%.
How can we address the problem?
Managing fraud presents a great challenge for the insurance industry. Insurers are under constant pressure to cover new risks and develop original products. This pressure, combined with the fast-evolving business and technology landscapes, makes for a favorable environment for fraudsters to use to come up with innovative ways to stay one step ahead of fraud detection. Often the insurance industry is left trying to play catch-up when managing the ever-changing nature of fraud and abuse.
Fraud is unlikely to ever be eradicated completely, but there are steps we can take to control it effectively.
The first step in the process to control fraud is, of course, to detect fraud. Fraud detection tools and techniques, which can be used to identify actual as well as potential fraud, fall into two primary categories: traditional/manual and artificial intelligence.