10 years of fighting insurance fraud: City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department looks back on a decade of bringing criminals to justice
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The City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) is celebrating 10 years since its launch.
Back in 2012, the City of London Police, in its role as the national lead force for fraud, responded to growing concerns around an epidemic of insurance fraud.
A ‘perfect storm’ of challenges faced both the police service and the insurance industry: a difficult economic climate saw drastic cuts to funding for specialist units, while the UK’s insurance industry was suffering its biggest ever losses through fraud, estimated to be at more than £2 billion.
A new unit of detectives and financial investigators launched in January 2012, which would be dedicated to investigating insurance fraud referred to policing by both insurance companies and the public.
Assistant Commissioner Pete O’Doherty said:
“Throughout my career at the City of London Police, I have eagerly watched IFED grow into the well-established, well-respected unit it is today.
“Arrest-by-arrest, IFED reminds the public that insurance fraud is a criminal offence, and that this type of fraud will not be tolerated. By doing so, the unit protects us from all from a number of risks: reckless ‘crash for cash’ criminals putting innocent drivers in danger; Organised Crime Groups using insurance fraud to fund further illicit activity; and also the raised premiums honest policyholders face every year to cover losses through fraud.
“IFED has demonstrated its resilience since the Covid-19 pandemic hit. Despite significant disruptions to operational activity, there was a 51 per cent increase in the number of arrests made by IFED from 2020 to 2021, and a 247 per cent increase in comparison to 2019. The team truly is a force to be reckoned with and I look forward to seeing what the next decade brings for IFED.”
T/DCI Tom Hill, Acting Head of IFED, said:
“When I started as Detective Constable with the newly-established unit back in 2012, I never could have imagined what IFED would achieve in its first ten years. We have gone from strength-to-strength, bringing down multiple criminal networks while also changing the perception that opportunistic fraud is acceptable.
“From a policyholder repeatedly freezing and defrosting their dead pet to make bogus claims, to a man who impersonated his female partner to fake his own death for a £1 million pay out, we really have seen it all. The lengths fraudsters will go to for financial gain are often unbelievable, but the consequences of committing insurance fraud are far from fiction.
“With around 300 years of jail time, 600 convictions and 1,400 judicial outcomes under our belt, we have proven that criminals will pay the price for exploiting the system.”
IFED IN NUMBERS
In its first year alone, IFED received 477 referrals from 49 different insurers, made 260 arrests, secured 12 convictions and investigated more than £11 million of suspected insurance fraud. The need for this dedicated unit was quickly justified by the figures.
A decade on, a dedicated team of detectives, financial investigators and support staff have worked tirelessly to carry out 2,930 arrests and voluntary interviews, while investigating £350 million worth of fraud. Along the way, the unit has secured 584 court convictions, 1,418 judicial outcomes and 310 years of prison time for fraudsters.