02/07/2022

Happy birthday IFED at 10

The Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, more commonly referred to as IFED, turned 10 years old in January 2022. It has been a vital tool in deterring fraud, complementing insurers and their representatives in the long-standing fight against fraudulent claims.

In the latest entry in Kennedys’ Fundamentally Honest blog, we look at what the department does, how it operates and achievements and impact over the past decade.

What is IFED?

IFED was set up in January 2012 as a bespoke unit within the City of London Police dedicated to combatting insurance fraud.

Its origins lay in the rapid increase in insurance fraud at the time, with the aftermath of the recession resulting in funding cuts to specialised police units and the insurance industry losing more than £2 billion a year through fraud.

The organisation comprised both detectives and financial investigators dedicated to investigating insurance fraud referred to policing by both insurance companies and the public.

IFED is funded by the insurance industry via the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and investigates insurance fraud throughout England and Wales.

How they operate?

The unit includes:

  • Four operational teams made up of Detective Constables and Financial Investigators, each managed by a Detective Sergeant, dealing with investigations via traditional policing methods as well as proactive and disruptive tactics to fight insurance fraud.
  • A further team, the IFED Hub, consisting of a Detective Sergeant, Senior Analyst, and Police Staff providing intelligence analysis and research plus administrative support to the department and industry.

IFED accepts crime referrals from both insurers and third parties, such as the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB). In addition, the unit maintains links with other forces and Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs) throughout the United Kingdom, as well as government agencies and other parties to continually build and develop intelligence.

Crime referrals are generally sent to a specific email address with an Action Fraud report bring completed (full contact details are contained below). The referral is then assessed and scored against the IFED Scoring Matrix. When a case is accepted, a decision is emailed to the referrer within 10 business days. If a case is rejected, the referrer will receive a phone call and email from the IFED Hub explaining the decision.

What has been IFED’s impact?

IFED’s achievements over the past decade are too vast to be covered in this article. With that said, its impact can be seen in the following statistics:

  • Carrying out 2,930 arrests and voluntary interviews.
  • Investigating £350 million worth of fraud.
  • Securing 584 court convictions.
  • Obtaining 1,418 judicial outcomes.
  • Achieving 310 years of prison time for fraudsters.
  • Increasing the number of arrests by 51% between 2020 and 2021, with a 247% increase compared to 2019, despite the significant disruptions to operations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In terms of more specific successes, IFED has achieved the following:

  • Tackling the UK’s largest fake car insurance scam in 2013, resulting in two ghost brokers being jailed for a combined total of four years.
  • Securing a combined three year jail sentence in 2014 for a married couple who faked the husband’s death in order to collect over £1 million from life insurance policies and investments.
  • Pursuing investigations leading to the two year jail sentence in 2016 of an aircraft engineer who had claimed £189,000 worth of luggage had been lost on a flight, despite images of the scanned cases showing they were empty.
  • In 2018, their efforts helped secure a combined five year jail sentence for fraudulent medical claims and loss of property allegedly arising from the Manchester Arena terror attacks.

IFED’s impact as an essential deterrent of insurance fraud is clear. Whilst the nature of fraudulent claims appears likely to change in the future, given factors such as the aftermath of COVID-19, the introduction of driverless cars and the impact of whiplash reforms, it remains to be seen what the next decade will bring. However, whilst insurance fraudsters are most likely here to stay, so are IFED.

Links

Referrals should be sent to ifedreferrals@cityoflondon.police.uk and an Action Fraud report should be completed prior to sending the referral, referencing the NFRC number in the IFED Referral Form.

Any cases that you consider to be urgent can be discussed/referred via phone call to 020 7164 8200, including cases involving the following:

  • Evidence that is likely to be lost without immediate police action.
  • Suspects have been alerted and may seek to flee the United Kingdom and/or destroy key evidence.
  • Imminent risk to public safety.
  • Significant financial loss is likely without intervention.

IFED’s impact on fraud deterrence and ensuring that there is a consequence to committing insurance fraud is undeniable. Happy Birthday IFED… 10 years of great work.