Study on spotting insurance cheats

A psychology expert at the the University of Portsmouth is working on techniques that will help insurance companies spot fraudulent claims.

Dr Sharon Leal says she hopes to come up with evidence-based methods on how claimants behave when they are lying.

It will be a handy tool for car insurance companies and fraud investigators who traditionally rely on instincts when examining claims.

As well as saving insurance providers time and money, it will also stop innocent claimants from suffering unnecessary hassle, she said.

Dr Leal, who has received £112,000 in funding from a leading insurance fraud investigation firm for the study, explains that claims are looked into for a range of reasons.

An investigation may be launched in case of a large claim on a new policy or when investigator suspects something odd or when claimants cannot recall specific details of an incident.

Dr Leal said: "Insurance fraud has been on the rise since the recession began and insurance companies are very keen to find a way of beating those who cheat.

"There is a saying, 'needs must when the devil rides', which basically means when times are tough, people are more likely to break the rules.

"That is certainly 1 in the case of insurance fraud."

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