Hawkins encounters fraud in all areas of its work, sometimes in blatantly staged incidents, but more normally in the form of exaggeration and opportunistic additions to the claim.
This diversity means our investigators will handle anything to do with fraud, from major losses such as a deliberately set fire in a large factory or contamination of bulk cargo, through to minor losses involving accidental damage or a staged disappearance of insured items from a house.
Hawkins is a member of IFIG, the Insurance Fraud Investigators Group. Being a member of IFIG enables us to share knowledge and training with other member companies. In addition, we can also share information about particular claims where fraud is suspected enabling us to help to identify serial fraudsters not identified by standard database searches.
WHY APPOINT A FORENSIC INVESTIGATOR?
Hawkins will examine the physical evidence associated with the case and give you a clear view on whether or not that evidence is consistent with the account being proposed by the claimant. When combined with your own knowledge of the case and its history, this should enable you to come to a swift decision on how to deal with the claim.
Did you know that:
Hawkins can give you the scientific evidence to show whether or not the damage could have occurred in the manner suggested. We are trained and able to give evidence in Court should you decide to involve the Police.
This enables you to:
HOW DOES HAWKINS INVESTIGATE LOSSES WHERE FRAUD IS SUSPECTED?
Most investigations start with obtaining and considering witness evidence. If appropriate we will take statements. Such statements are the first step in establishing a narrative of events and are often important in determining policy liability.
Liaison with official agencies is usually part of fire investigation and Hawkins is well versed in handling losses involving the Police and the Fire Brigade, and obtaining and interpreting CCTV footage. Some losses involve fire alarms or intruder alarms and our investigators are expert in obtaining and interpreting such data.
For arson losses, our investigators will pay particular attention to the fine detail of the cause, looking for accelerants, or other, more innovative methods of starting fires without detection. The investigation must then go on to look at whether the fire was set by an outsider or if a policyholder could have been involved. Often, the perpetrator does not realise that fire will not remove all traces of deliberate ignition. In addition, witness marks are created during a fire and these marks can provide a wealth of information such as whether a bolt was shot home or not, or whether the power to an appliance was on or not at the time of a fire. Additionally, marks alleged to have been left by intruders in breaking into the building can disclose much to the trained expert. The role of digital evidence in identifying fraudulent behaviour becomes more important every year.
At the heart of fire investigation is the interpretation of patterns of fire damage and a consideration of electrical evidence. Hawkins’ investigators are highly experienced in both areas and will piece together the varied aspects of physical evidence to uncover the location in which the fire started.
We are able to help with motor fraud losses by examining the physical evidence. Our work in this area includes:
- Examination of the location in which a vehicle was allegedly damaged. The underside of a vehicle, when compared with soil analysis at the alleged location, can show definitively if the damage occurred where alleged.
- Examination of keys
- Assistance with staged motor accidents. We will carry out a reconstruction analysis of the crash to determine whether or not the damage is consistent with the claimant’s account.
OTHER FRAUD LOSSES
Where there is suspected fraud involving dropped televisions or storm damage to a home, specialist investigators are often brought in, either from the insurer’s own staff or from an outside agency. Such investigators concentrate on the evidence they are given by the claimant using such techniques as voice stress analysis, conversation management and database interrogation.
Hawkins’ approach works well in tandem with such methods by concentrating on the physical evidence and using sound scientific strategies to discover any unlikely, or impossible, occurrences. In this way, we can show whether the damage could have occurred in the manner described in the claimant’s statement.
The team are experienced in analysing operational and financial data, applying the technical accounting standards, and communicating key issues in plain English.
Major Crime Investigation
Hawkins is accustomed to working on major crime investigations in the fields of arson, forensic geology and soil analysis, electrical engineering, mechanical engineering digital forensic services. Hawkins counts numerous ex-Forensic Science Service staff amongst its employees and has been intimately involved in many major investigations, working both for the Police and the Defence.