In the fight against fraud, analysts maintain a delicate balance. Whilst stronger regulations and policies protect customers’ data, fraudsters become more aggressive and sophisticated.

Nevertheless, one of our premier UK insurance clients managed to collaborate with another insurer to detect a ghost broking ring which led to several prosecutions.

Over a period of 25 months, someone or some group had incepted and then canceled 83 new motor insurance policies as soon as they had converted.

Whoever was opening and closing these policies was meticulous. Among those 83 applications, very little key data was repeated. The applicants incepted only four or five motor insurance policies per month.

This level of diligence would normally have slipped by undetected. But by using device intelligence our client could see that only two devices (both with true IP addresses in London) were submitting the applications, some of which listed residences hundreds of miles away.

The extra detail framed the core question: Why were these policies being incepted and canceled so quickly?

Our client used unique, persistent identification numbers assigned to the two suspicious devices to query peers in a global fraud consortium. Sure enough, analysts at another insurer had seen the same devices applying for policies with them also.

Whilst adhering to UK privacy laws and their companies’ privacy policies, the two insurers pooled their observations. Confident that they were discussing the same devices, they shared information such as the number of policies incepted, the average time before the policies were canceled, and the reasons given for those cancellations.

They concluded that the fraudsters were using the first insurers' cancellation letters and no-claims bonuses to get cheaper policies with the second insurer. The cheaper policies (their premiums lowered further with false information about the drivers) were then sold to unsuspecting victims.

Equipped with this insight, our client supplied New Scotland Yard with concrete device data that proved essential in the successful prosecution of the ghost broking ring.

The consistent device ID allowed the fraud analysts to keep their balance and obey privacy regulations in their fight against fraud.