Insurance firm admits lie detectors just don't work

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The Independent Online

One of Britain's biggest insurance companies has abandoned the covert use of "lie detectors" to root out fraudulent claimants because it found they were "useless".

One of Britain's biggest insurance companies has abandoned the covert use of "lie detectors" to root out fraudulent claimants because it found they were "useless".

After a 12-month pilot scheme, Direct Line said the telephone voice stress recognition software "simply did not work" and often gave results that clashed with its own investigations. However, several companies, including Highway Insurance, are considering similar systems in an attempt to reduce fraudulent claims, which have quadrupled since 1998.

A Direct Line spokesman, Miles Russell, said the lie tests had not been used to decide on claims. Customers were told they were being "recorded and monitored". He said: "It was tested on customers in the motor theft department and we found there was not a strong enough correlation between the results and the findings of our own investigations department."

Roger Bingham, of the civil liberties group Liberty, said: "If one company finds they are not accurate, it would be interesting to know why there are still others who want to use them."

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