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  • Writer's pictureeviid

Is major loss from severe weather opening the flood gates to fraud?

Verifying media at source to use in the claims process

The global insurance industry will have to pay out the largest amount of compensation in the last decade to cover the damage done by natural disasters in the first half of 2021 according to London-based Aon insurance.

Global natural disaster insured losses will be as high as £31 billion for the six-month period. Twenty-one extreme weather events – mainly in the US - included a freezing polar vortex in Texas, heat wave and record high temperatures in the US north-west and British Columbia, Canada and storms in Europe that saw devastating flooding in Germany. With every passing year, adverse weather extremes hit new records as storms grow in intensity and numbers, and the cost to the industry grows too. Wildfires in southern Europe, the US and Siberia and flooding in northern Europe, cyclones, hurricanes, mudslides, earthquakes, erupting volcanos … the list goes on.

However, according to figures from the Association of British Insurers, the average fraudulent insurance claim has also risen to £12,000. In fact, in 2019, 107,000 fraudulent insurance claims worth £1.2 billion were uncovered by insurers - a new scam being uncovered every five minutes – 300 a day. In the case of major loss due to weather extremes, where claims run into thousands, it raises the question of what steps insurers can take to further reduce or prevent fraud.

Increasingly in the claims process, video footage and photographic evidence are being used to assess damage.

Every device we own has a camera, but there are immeasurable ways to tamper with those devices and the footage they capture. Video and photo footage is increasingly being embedded into the claims process as ‘proof’ of damage or loss, and with that comes increasing risk of fraud where those images haven’t been certified.

Unless footage is verified at source, images can be easily altered – the metadata changed, photoshopped, a video clip shortened or stolen from another online source. The importance for insurers of being able to trust what they see, embed the footage into enterprise workflow and store it safely for use in the claims process must be combined with the need to understand the difference between certified and circumstantial evidence. Certified media can be proven to be tamper proof – unaltered from the point at which it was taken. Failure to verify media in this way leaves insurers open to fraud.

So how can insurers ensure that what they see and capture in the claims process is real?

Working with eviid, insurance companies have been able to introduce a verified video element to insurance company claims - and has seen, that where claims are of a value of less than £2,000, a shocking 40% of claimants have walked away from completing the claim at all