The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), which has now secured 239 years in custodial sentences, is celebrating its seven-year anniversary this month. Since its inception back in 2012, the IFED has convicted 433 insurance fraudsters leading to 239 years in custodial sentences, 108 years in suspended sentences, 13,355 hours in community orders and over £100,000 in fines. The specialist unit has also achieved 1,140 additional outcomes, including 489 cautions/conditional cautions.
Jointly funded by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and the Corporation of Lloyd’s, the IFED is a specialist police unit dedicated to tackling insurance fraud. IT’s committed to addressing high volume and organised criminality. The unit works in collaboration with multiple law enforcement agencies, together with insurers and the Insurance Fraud Bureau who provide information and intelligence that ultimately assists with the IFED’s key objective of prosecuting insurance fraudsters.
In addition, the IFED is responsible for helping to prevent members of the public from becoming victims of fraud through the use of national media campaigns to raise awareness of the different types of insurance fraud and the harms associated with it. Most recently, the IFED ran its national #SteerClearofFraud campaign to warn drivers about the dangers of fraudsters who pose as legitimate brokers and sell fake car insurance to unsuspecting victims.
Over the past seven years,the IFED has disrupted several organised crime groups and put numerous insurance fraudsters behind bars. Last year alone, the IFED’s investigations led to numerous fraudsters being jailed, including a woman who exploited the Grenfell Tower fire and a North London gang who defrauded insurers out of £1 million.
The IFED also carried out two week-long operations in May and November last year across England and Wales aimed at 54 suspected ‘opportunistic’ fraudsters whose fraudulent claims amounted to a total value of £426,650.
In January 2017, the IFED agreed a further three years of funding with the ABI and the Corporation of Lloyd’s, taking the fight to insurance fraudsters up to 2020.
Continuing to evolve
Detective Chief Inspector Craig Mullish, acting head of the City of London Police’s IFED, said: “The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department continues to evolve to counter the ever-changing threat posed by insurance fraudsters and has achieved some terrific results since it began. These figures are a testament to all of the hard work over the past seven years by the IFED, in partnership with law enforcement and the insurance industry, which has contributed towards bringing serious consequences to those who choose to engage in insurance fraud.”
Mullish added: “While some may think that insurance fraud is a victimless crime, this simply isn’t the case. It costs the insurance industry billions each year, which in turn raises the cost of premiums for everyone. On top of this, some types of insurance, such as ‘crash for cash’ and ‘ghost broking’, bring the public into direct contact with the harms associated with insurance fraud.”
James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the ABI, explained: “Since its formation, the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department has evolved to tackle ever more ingenious insurance scams, including ‘ghost broking’ and staged motor accidents, as well as developing public awareness campaigns to help consumers avoid the fraudsters. Its work highlights how seriously the industry takes preventing and enforcing against insurance fraud to protect the interests of honest insurance customers.”
Ryan Smith, financial crime manager at the Corporation of Lloyd’s, concluded: “The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department carries out vital work to tackle insurance fraud. Insurance is based on trust – that we will pay valid claims when policyholders need us to. Fraud undermines this trust, so it’s vital that we stamp it out. The IFED’s seven-year track record is evidence of its success in this regard. We look forward to continuing our support for our colleagues there such that they can keep prosecuting these illegal activities.”