Australian insurance fraud investigators will get access to a new level of professional support with the imminent establishment of a local chapter of the International Association of Special Investigation Units (IASIU).

The International Association of Special Investigations Units, or IASIU, is the preeminent body for insurance fraud investigation professionals with more than 4000 members worldwide. IASIU has 42 chapters across the US and Europe and is expanding internationally.

Visiting Sydney for the 2018 Polonious World conference, IASIU Vice President, Dallas Barnes, said the group has had some strong interest and, ultimately, the directors would like to create a chapter here in Australia.

I think it would be beneficial for the industry as a whole and it looks very positive,” Barnes said.

While the exact date of the establishment of an Australian IASIU chapter is still unknown, Barnes said it is feasible for it to be operating at the end of 2018 at the earliest, if not definitely in 2019.

There’s some organisation that we need to do and we have to create a non-profit, and manage some other legal matters,” he said.

Barnes, who has worked in the insurance industry for nearly 28 years in the United States, has been leading the fight against insurance fraud by managing investigation teams.

IASIU provides education and certification services for investigators through ongoing training in new trends in investigating insurance fraud and a network for the professionals.

It very beneficial to the industry that ethical standards are upheld and there is ongoing education and training,” Barnes said. “There are new trends and schemes that people who commit insurance fraud are doing, and we need to be aware of those.”

There are also new techniques and resources to prevent the fraud. Ultimately just having this association and network helps to create a deterrence to insurance fraud. We’re not going to identify and beat every fraud scheme out there, but if we can cause a deterrence and support that deterrence, we’re going to make a difference.”

Dan Crowley, Executive Director of The Verifact Group, said Dallas Barnes delivered a very informative presentation at Polonious World 2018 and there is definitely a place for an insurance-focused investigators association in Australia.

“I am looking forward to being involved in founding Australia’s IASIU chapter,” Crowley said.

Polonious co-founder Alastair Steel said Polonious has supported and sponsored IASIU shows in the USA for the past 1) years and in Europe for the past six years.

“We know how much value an Australian chapter will bring to the local insurance investigation profession,” Steel said. “The training, certification and access to insurance investigation studies will benefit Australian investigators greatly.”

“We are also confident that an Australian specific chapter can be founded addressing our legal framework and requirements much like the European chapter was set up to serve its members’ needs.”

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Full Transcript of video

Thanks for joining us, Dallas. Tell us a bit about yourself and your background.

Absolutely. I’ve been in the insurance industry for going on twenty-eight years in the United States. Worked for a major carrier in the United States that is a personalise carrier — property and casualty policies — for the last fifteen, sixteen years. I was leading the fight against insurance fraud. I manage a group of investigators for that company and it’s a passion of mine.

How are you finding the Polonious World event here in Australia?

It’s been a great venue to talk about what I do. Here at this particular event I’m representing the International Association of Special Investigations Units, where I’m the Vice-President, and I got the opportunity to talk about that. I think I’ve had some strong interest too. Ultimately, we’d like to create membership and a chapter here in Australia. I think it would be beneficial for the industry as a whole if we’re able to do that and it looks very positive.

About the organisation, what sort of services and support and networking activity does it provide?

The International Association of Special Investigations Units, the IASIU, is over 4,100 members worldwide. We have 42 chapters in the US and Europe and hopefully soon in Australia as well as other countries. With that we provide education, certifications for investigators. We provide training, ongoing training as to new trends in insurance fraud, in investigating insurance fraud, and the network for those investigators as well. So it’s very beneficial to the industry as a whole that we have those ethical standards, we have that education and that training.

Fraud can really be a problem in any organisation, not just insurance companies. Do you think that the organisation could benefit from membership outside the insurance industry as well? Is that a focus for you, or is it simply just insurance?

We’re focused just on insurance fraud. My organisation, the International IASIU, is focused just on insurance fraud. We don’t deal at this point in time with any other type of fraud. That’s our focus and what we do.

In terms of the role of a special investigation unit, what are some of the future roles we can see, and how must teams and investigators doing that work evolve to keep up with new technologies and new developments?

With everything, the change is occurring all the time. It’s so rapid now, the pace at which change is occurring. It’s very important — there’s new trends and schemes that people who commit insurance fraud are doing, and we need to be aware of those.

There’s also new techniques and resources to prevent the fraud — it’s best that we can prevent it before it ever occurs. But ultimately, just having this association, just having this network, helps to create a deterrence to insurance fraud. And that’s the biggest thing We’re not going to identify and beat every fraud scheme out there, but of we can cause a deterrence and support that deterrence, that’s how we’re going to make a difference.

And working with tools like Polonious could help investigators do their job?

Polonious is one tool that would certainly help them do their job. I support Polonious, I think it would help organisations as well as SIUs as well as investigators to do their jobs more effectively. It’s a resource that would be beneficial.

So can you put a date on when it might be here in Australia, the chapter?

Oh gosh, well, I mean, I have my wish, right? I would say that there’s some organisation that we need to do and that we have to create a non-profit, some legal matters. I think it’s feasible to say the very earliest would be the end of 2018, but we can get it done in 2019, no problem.