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Bart Custers on insurance companies and fraud registers

Insurance companies are registering more and more people for having committed fraud. In principle, it is a good idea to tackle cases of fraud. However, research shows that an increasing number of people are being wrongly included on the fraud list. According to Bart Custers, Professor of Law & Data Science at eLaw – Center for Law and Digital Technologies, better safeguards for citizens are needed.

Bart Custers

When an insurance company discovers that someone has committed fraud, that person is put on a register held by the Dutch Association of Insurers. Since 2018, this organisation has kept a central list. Its aim is to prevent that person from committing another case of fraud at a different insurance company. The people on the fraud list usually lose their insurance. After all, the register is intended to prevent the person who committed fraud from doing the same thing at another insurance company.  People not covered by insurance can face high costs in the event of damage.  This can lead to even more problems. For example, if you lose your car insurance, you cannot drive in a car that is not insured. 

You could say, if you commit fraud you’re asking for trouble. But there are two problems with this system. First, the insurance companies decide a person’s punishment. Second, they decide who gets put on the list, sometimes with no solid proof. In his article in Dutch newspaper Trouw, Custers, an expert in the field of risk profiling and combatting fraud, considers these problems in more detail. He proposes four measures that are not detrimental in the fight against fraud, but would offer citizens better protection.

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