1. How has the fraud environment changed over the years?
In the past, fraud was very often based on circumstance. Most fraudsters acted as lone perpetrators with limited means. Therefore, most attacks remained on a restricted level regarding their strength and impacts. Today, a lot of fraud cases are committed by criminal organizations. The financial and technical means of these organizations are often better than those of the attacked. Planning and performing the fraud is managed in a professional way. So even despite a better awareness and better fraud protection, the threats are constantly increasing.
2. What are the emerging challenges stemming from the digital age?
The digitization of business has sped up all processes. Controls and checks are seen as thwarting the processes. Therefore, necessary controls and checks are often not included into the digitized new processes. Generally, the time to react to threats has decreased to a minimum and below. To guarantee the necessary level of secure transactions, security and prevention aspects also have to be considered in a digitized environment. Also, you have to bear in mind that today nearly all cases are connected directly or indirectly to organized crime.
3. What are the benefits of using technology to combat fraud?
The use of new technology in combating fraud is not just a benefit, it is an indispensable need. As fraudsters are using the newest technology for their purposes, you can’t fight them with old-fashioned methods.
4. Throughout your career, you have witnessed many fraudulent cases. Is there for you one that was the most striking?
At the beginning of the new millennium, there was a fraud case in the UK. Three fraudsters managed to grift more than £16 million within less than three months from a big international company through faked invoices. Due to the slow reconciliation processes in the company, it took a while until the fraud was discovered. However, we managed to disclose all details of the case and to trace and recover the full amount of the grifted money.
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5. According to you, what is needed so that the industry becomes improved in terms of how to stay one step ahead of fraudsters?
For the moment, it would be good if the industry was on eye level with the fraudsters. To achieve this or even be a step ahead, it is necessary to have a proper awareness regarding existing fraud threats and to invest into appropriate protective measures.
6. How do you see the upcoming years evolving in the insurance industry? Will fraudulent claims be decreasing or increasing?
7. According to you, how can insurance companies combat fraud, while at the same time distinguishing and protecting honest customers?
A proper risk analysis is the basis for combating fraud. The analysis should not only be restricted to the insured risk itself but also to the people involved. “Know your customer” is a principle that should be ob served strictly. Also, all possible controls should be carried out, before a cover note is released.