Remember in old-school police films, where the detective would be trying to solve a difficult case, and it would cut to a wall where there would be evidence linked together with red string and pins?
It’s hard to imagine, but that is how it used to be done, and is still done, when investigating some cases.
But the world is moving on, and technology is infiltrating everything. Fraud detection and investigation is one area where tech is impacting the insurance sector.
Cate Wright, the global insurance product manager for BAE Systems, describes BAE’s NetReveal program as a fraud investigator’s modern version of string on a board, but smarter.
The company calls the type of work it does ‘social networking analytics’ – it pulls in huge amounts of data that would take a human months to analyse, and gives an insurer both a risk score and spider diagram of that data.
“A spider diagram is a visual network of links between risk factors,” Wright explained. “It provides a visual network so the investigators can look at the risks and make a decision on what they want to do with it and how risky it is.
“It’s literally like in the old school police films where they put post-its and string - that’s probably the best way to look at it. That’s the old-school version, but we do it in a digital sense. We provide that in a screen, where you can move it around and you can delete bits that you don’t like and you can link bits that you think are linked and you can add information into it. They can really investigate the threat that they’ve got there and make a decision on it.”
Wright’s career started in insurance, before moving into the broking space, and now to BAE.
“I was brought in from an industry background - that is quite unusual outside of sales,” she explained. “They tend to use technology to manage technology.”
Wright said that BAE decided to hire her because they wanted to look at their technology in the fraud space from an industry perspective - so bringing in industry experts was the first step.
“But BAE have taken kind of a different stance to it, and said ‘well there’s really no point in us taking something we think is cool then trying to find a problem to solve in the market with it,’ it just doesn’t work like that,” she said.
“If we want to be market leaders… then we need to start with the market, and understand their problems, then use technology to solve those problems. Rather than an inside out approach, they’re looking for an outside in approach.”
According to Wright, one of the biggest issues she has seen over her career is the speed in which insurers have had to respond to fraud. This has increased due to the growth of aggregators, the expert said.
“When I look at the fraud I was investigating 15 years ago when I was a fraud investigator, there’s been a huge transition in speed and efficiency that’s had to happen for the UK insurance industry from a counter fraud perspective,” Wright explained.
“You have to make decisions incredibly quickly, when it comes to policy and purchasing - it’s a manner of minutes. Now 70% of motor policies are bought through aggregators in the UK. So, when you think how fast they have to react to not lose that sale and to identify fraud as quickly as possible, there’s a huge amount of improvements in speed that they’ve had to do over a relatively short amount of time. Aggregators have really only been around for the last 10 years.”