Out-Law News 1 min. read

Insurance fraud data sharing hub to be explored next year

Plans to "standardise and centralise" the sharing of data by insurers for the purposes of tackling fraud are to be explored by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) next year.

The new "intelligence sharing" initiative is planned under a new expansion of the IFB's remit from combating fraud in the motor insurance market to tackling the issue across general insurance products. The IFB said that 76% of industry stakeholders it had consulted with said it should act as "the central industry hub for all fraud data and intelligence".

The IFB has launched a new strategy in an effort to map out its activities in its new enhanced role.

"Work in 2015 will initially focus on identifying where the IFB should focus first, taking into account the relative risks and likely return on investment from the different product lines," an IFB statement said. "Collaboration with the industry in 2015 will also define options to standardise and centralise intelligence sharing."

Ben Fletcher, IFB director, said: "With a single view of all insurance fraud intelligence, the IFB will be best-placed to compile industry-wide threat assessments and engage law enforcement agencies and regulators with much stronger propositions."

A spokesman for the IFB told Out-Law.com that the IFB has also agreed "in principle" to front a separate project to develop new data sharing guidelines to reflect a specific provision in UK data protection laws.

Under section 29 of the Data Protection Act (DPA) organisations are generally freed from conditions placed on the legitimate processing of personal data, such as the need to obtain individuals' consent for such processing, where the processing takes place for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime.

The Act permits companies to share personal information they hold with others for the purpose of preventing or detecting crime without informing individuals concerned if doing so would be likely to prejudice such investigations (section 29 requests and disclosures).

Last year a sub-group within the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII) raised concerns about the way insurance companies were sharing personal information as part of their anti-fraud operations. The group was expected to outline new data sharing protocols to ensure that the sharing of personal data by insurers complied with the UK's Data Protection Act.

However, Out-Law.com understands that those plans were changed after industry pushed backed against the idea of mandatory data sharing protocols on section 29 requests and disclosures. Instead, the CII's sub-group looked into the possibility of new data sharing guidelines but felt a permanent 'owner' for the initiative was required.

The IFB's spokesman told Out-Law.com that it expects to make an announcement about new best practice data sharing guidelines on section 29 requests and disclosures before the end of the year once the detail of the scheme has been finalised.

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