Ageas Insurance has become the latest insurer to join the Insurance Fraud Register (IFR). The IFR, managed by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), is a single industry database of known fraudsters which helps insurers in their fight against the significant costs of fraud.

Members of the IFR have the ability to share details of known fraudsters which can be used to strengthen the initial validation process at the application stage, avoiding many potential fraudulent claims.

The IFR officially launched in November 2013 after four years of development. It is available to over 300 insurers who are members of the Association of British Insurers (ABI), which officially sponsors the project.

The database helps insurers identify fraudsters at any stage in the policy lifecycle - application and claim stages. Insurers can upload information on fraudulent activity to the database – this is then available to all of the IFR’s members across the insurance industry.

Rob Smale, Claims Director at Ageas Insurance and IFB Supervisory Board Member, said:

“We’ve been involved in this project since its inception, and are delighted to now be onboard.  All antifraud data should be made available to businesses and people managing fraud. However it’s only right, and indeed reassuring to the public, that appropriate controls are in place to ensure data protection.

“The cost of fraud to the insurance industry is massive and although there is no silver bullet, sharing intelligence will undoubtedly help us become more effective in our fight against it. Ultimately through access to data on the IFR we aim to detect individuals and organisations who attempt to defraud Ageas at an earlier stage and prevent the costs being passed onto millions of honest customers in the form of higher premiums.

“The more we work together as an industry to tackle fraud, the more effective systems like the IFR will become. I’d encourage more insurance companies to sign up.”

Ben Fletcher, Director of the IFB said:

“Insurers are determined to protect their honest customers, who shouldn’t have to pay for the fraudulent minority. The industry is taking tough action against fraudsters and investing heavily in counter-fraud defences. Insurance cheats are getting caught, more now than ever before. The consequences are serious and this can be life-changing as they face the prospect of heavy fines, a criminal record and imprisonment plus potentially restricted access to financial services. The IFR is a vital tool for insurers; giving the industry a central record of known fraudsters."

Ageas is the newest member of the ABI to join.