Insurer to use lie detectors to root out false claims

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One of Britain's biggest insurers is to subject policyholders to a lie-detector test to help reduce fraudulent claims, the company said yesterday.

Halifax General Insurance hopes to expose dishonesty using computer software to monitor calls from its two million customers.

The Nemesysco system, which analyses voice frequency, can rate the legitimacy of a claim in 15 minutes.

Its findings are converted into a rating system and will be considered with analysis from people trained to detect the criminal aspects of narrative behaviour over the telephone.

The system, managed by the Buckinghamshire company Digilog, is the latest weapon deployed by the insurance industry, which pays out more than £1bn a year in fraudulent claims, according to the Association of British Insurers.

HBOS, which owns Halifax, is the first general insurer to introduce the lie detector in a three-month pilot, which starts next month.

The Highway Insurance Company in Essex said voice analysis had led to a 20 per cent increase in detection rates since it was introduced 18 months ago. The system is also being piloted by Admiral.