Halifax General Insurance is to begin using lie detection software on house insurance claimants following a successful trial of the technology.
The 'voice risk analysis' (VRA) software, developed by Digilog UK, identifies changes in the frequency, pace and pitch of a claimants voice and analyses answers to a questionnaire designed to pick up signs of undue stress.
The bank initiated a pilot of the system at its general insurance division at the end of 2003. HBOS says the trial showed that 30% of all claims required further investigations. Out of these claims, 40% were subsequently withdrawn by the claimant, rejected or investigated further.
Halifax says the VRA system takes less than half the time of traditional screening methods and will allow genuine claims to be paid at the first point of contact without the need to visit the property. However larger, more complicated claims will still be handled by a personal claims consultant.
The bank insists the technology will only be used in conjunction with other tools in 'high risk' cases involving claims such as theft, accidental damage and accidental loss.
The technology will not be used when a customer initially reports a claim but will be used, if applicable, on subsequent calls. Customers will be advised on two separate occasions that the lie detection system will be used, but will still be able to opt-out of using the technology.
Howard Posner, CEO, Halifax General Insurance, says policyholders who have genuine claims have no cause for concern about the use of the technology: "Our primary intention is to use the VRA, in conjunction with standard interview techniques, in order to enable us to identify genuine claims and settle them more quickly."