We have been considering migrating our claims notification process away from the phone and onto the web. We feel that this offers the most effective customer service proposition in a rapidly modernising technological age. Do you see any downsides?

In the US, the Insurance Research Council (IRC) and Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO) Fraud Survey of 2000 reveals that a significant proportion of surveyed companies estimate that 21 percent or more of total claims contain elements of fraud. In the UK , via DigiLog’s AVS, it can be shown that the reality approaches 30% – of which almost two thirds are being successfully defeated.

Although web based claims notification may indeed enhance the ease with which a customer may register a claim, you will more than likely have to accept that this customer service’ proposition will extend to both genuine and dishonest customers; hence you may very well deliver enhanced customer service “ but why would you want to be doing that to the fifth or more of your customers who are less than genuine? You will rest uneasily in the knowledge that fraudsters revel in remote, non-human interfaces. The internet tends to demand quick and slick’ questioning routines too “ yet more music to a fraudster’s ear. Ask them a one dimensional question and they’ll give you a one dimensional answer “ how can you test the integrity of one or two word answers or ticks in boxes? Additionally, from a psychological perspective, it is far easier to lie to a machine’ than in direct communication with a fellow, interacting, human being.

By failing to deploy robust anti-fraud routines at the front end, you may well become increasingly attractive to those that are displaced by those that do.