The Insurance Crime Bureau’s annual conference shows the value of intelligent partnerships

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The Insurance Crime Bureau’s annual conference, which was held in Midrand on 6 and 7 March, was themed ‘Intelligent Partnerships’ – and  what emerged most strongly from two days of riveting presentations was that collaboration is crucial when it comes to smashing syndicates (or curtailing their criminal activities at the very least).

The presence of speakers like Johan Claassen (a senior criminal investigator with the US Department of Homeland Security in South Africa) and the UK’s Nick Feast (fraud and financial crime specialist, fraud and security intelligence for the EMEA region at SAS, and former employee of the Insurance Fraud Bureau), is testament to the hard work the ICB has been doing to attract global partners in the battle against fraud and other crimes in the insurance industry and beyond. Ronald Bryant and Brent Walker of the International Association of Special Investigation Units (IASIU) in the US also addressed the conference delegates and indicated that they would love to see a chapter of IASIU in South Africa. It’s good to know we’re not alone in our crime-fighting efforts.

The Insurance Crime Bureau’s CEO, Garth de Klerk, opened the conference with dollops of humour (a good counterweight to some of the grim statistics and grisly case studies delegates had to digest) and highlighted the fact that the non-profit company had recovered more than R1bn for stakeholders by at the end of January 2019 – a real win for the industry.

Some figures told a different story. With car insurance fraud on the agenda, it was depressing to hear that car crashes cost a total of R162 billion in 2017, according to Shaamiel Adriaanse (Business Engagement: Road Traffic Management Systems). Fortunately, South Africa hasn’t yet had to contend with a growing trend in the UK – ‘cash for crash’ scams, where fraudsters stage fake accidents, slam on the brakes of their car to make sure the car behind crashes into them, or submit false claims for accidents that don’t take place. Nick Feast (SAS) says fatalities have occurred during ‘cash for crash’ scams, so there’s more to the problem than UK motorists having to fork out more for premiums.

For a full report on the talks given at the conference – including presentations by Caroline da Silva on the goals and challenges of the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) and Lt. Colonel Elmarie Myburgh of the SAPS speaking on serial murders committed for the purpose of insurance fraud – look out for the April issue of RISKAfrica magazine.

Congratulations to the ICB on hosting yet another fascinating conference, bringing stakeholders together with one aim in mind: to tirelessly combat fraud and related crimes in South Africa and beyond.