Donna Scully features in Fraud Supplement of Modern Insurance Magazine

23 October 2023

Our Director, Donna Scully, recently featured in the Fraud Supplement of Modern Insurance Magazine discussing our fight against insurance fraud.

Q. Hi Donna, thanks so much for your time today!

The Fraud Unit at Carpenters Group works closely with their insurer clients to identify (and strategies against) the rising threat of fraud. Where have your key priorities sat lately in terms of fraud and fraudulent activity?

A. The current economic climate & cost of living crisis have undoubtedly fuelled an increase in opportunistic fraud. Exaggerated and contrived claims are a threat across all heads of loss, including injury, credit hire and vehicle related damages. Carpenters Group work closely and collaboratively with our insurer clients to identify and challenge organised and opportunistic fraud.

We warn clients about the adverse impact of fraud both on those committing it and also innocent premium paying motorists who end up paying more because of it.


Q. Awareness is key! How does fraud factor into the education and training of your in-house case handlers?

A. Our case handlers are passionate about fighting fraud and are our first line of defence. Training our case handlers on how to spot the signs of fraud is a key part of our training programme. We have developed our own claims development programme for our in-house claims team, and fraud plays a central role. As affiliate members of the Insurance Fraud Bureau, and working closely and collaboratively with our insurer partners we are also able to provide insights on the latest trends and risks to our case handlers.


Q. With increased digital transformation comes an increased risk of vulnerabilities and exposure to possible fraudulent activity. However, technology can also work in our favour when it comes to identifying suspicious fraud triggers.

How are you embracing technology in relation to the fight against fraud, and how are you continuing to balance this with human sensibility? 

A. “Having the right people with the right skills, using the right technology” is Carpenters Group philosophy. The right technology is an enabler and must be supported with the appropriately trained, experienced and passionate people on the fight against fraud.

Our counter fraud teams and case handlers are skilled in using technology to detect and prevent fraud. This includes analysing data washed against industry databases, utilising telematics data throughout the claims journey and harnessing technology to identify ‘deep fakes’. 


Q. You are the Chair of the Insurance Times Fraud Charter, which has been running for over 10 years now. What does this role entail, and what does your focus lie at the moment?

A. My involvement with the Fraud Charter goes back over 10 years. As then Chair of the Motor Accident Solicitors’ Society, my manifesto was to try to join the industry up more and fight fraud more collaboratively.  At my first Conference, I invited renowned anti-fraud champion, the late Richard Davies from AXA to talk about my plans.  He was excellent as you’d imagine and agreed with my agenda that we leave competition at the door when it came to fighting fraud and just thought of the greater good, in particular, protecting innocent policy holders.

By way of reciprocation, Richard invited me to the new Insurance Times Fraud Charter he had set up with them and AXA were sponsoring. I was there as Chair of MASS and as a claimant lawyer so suffice to say, there was no red carpet put out of me!  That did not deter Richard and he, like me, felt you had to have everybody round to table to have a true debate and to break down barriers. He was amazing and we miss him terribly.

When he got ill and AXA were no longer sponsoring the Charter, I took over the chair position and the sponsorship too.  I often think that I hope Richard is impressed with what we have achieved and how many very important ant-fraud experts attend, talk opening, and work collaboratively to share data, information and to fight fraud in a joined up way.  We wish he was still there and he will always be missed.

Chairing, sponsoring & being a part of the Fraud Charter is great for Carpenters in terms of being part of the fight against fraud.  Our Head of Defence & our Director of Claims Strategy both attend too.


Q. Carpenters Group is an affiliate member of the Insurance Fraud Bureau. How does this membership encourage / nurture industry collaboration in the fight against fraud? What does this partnership look like in practice?

A. Getting affiliate membership of the IFB took a while. We had to go through in depth due diligence to show that fighting fraud was at the centre of all we do & that our technology & data protection are robust.

Our affiliate membership encourages fraud prevention through sharing knowledge and the latest intelligence between members who work collaboratively towards our shared goal of detecting and preventing fraud. Our counter fraud teams meet regularly with the IFB and their members to discuss cases, emerging threats and trends, share intelligence and develop counter fraud strategies.


Q. Insurance fraud is a dynamic beast. With your finger on the pulse, how do you foresee the future of fraud evolving in the next year / five years / decade?

IFB are the industry lead on coordination of all fraud matters whereby we receive daily uploads of key attractors, IFB reports, Application Fraud, Cheatline Intelligence, Generic data feed which feeds directly into our claims system, Hotspot reports, Miscellaneous Intelligence, Operation Intelligence, network reports and SRA data.

In terms of evolving technology one would expect to see earlier identification of fraud through mechanisms such as voice recognition, especially at FNOL and machine learning though data collection, particularly as we see more vehicles carry telematics data.

The key areas of investigation at present are Claimant Solicitors acting without instruction, cost layering, exaggeration, and medical exaggeration.  We are paying particular attention to induced, contrived and staged collisions occurring in North/North West London involving motorcycles ridden by couriers and liaising with the industry via the IFB. We are also actively reviewing layering of injuries and rehabilitation and have tactics specifically to target this area for such claims as Tinnitus.

Notwithstanding technology advancements, collaboration is the key to successfully fighting fraud & we are at the forefront of that.


Credit: Modern Insurance