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The UK boasts a highly efficient and successful water industry, one that leads the way in research, training and accessing new water sources. Providing essential energy, water, sanitation and drainage to all households, businesses and organisations up and down the UK, the social responsibilities of utility providers are paramount. As part of their social obligations, all providers offer social tariffs to ensure domestic customers have access to a discounted service should they be struggling financially. This significant payment reduction is a lifeline for those who genuinely need it, protecting them from entering debt and ensuring continued provision of such essential services. However, these social tariffs can be abused and many customers are mistakenly or fraudulently receiving reduced charges when they are not entitled to them. A PROBLEM FOR PUBLIC SERVICE PROVIDERS To identify the scale of this problem Synectics Solutions worked with a number of the UK’s water companies in 2019 over a period of three months. The water utility providers it worked with covered rural and inner-city areas of the UK. Each of the companies in the pilot were experiencing problems such as: Customers dishonestly obtaining discounted services Failing to declare residency to avoid paying for their service entirely Declining to update their provider when their circumstances changed Without the intelligence in place to flag these potentially fraudulent claims or errors, these companies were exposed to considerable fraud and error and millions in lost revenue. The method that these organisations were deploying previously to address this problem involved using credit reference agency (CRA) data. The annual cost of these procedures for each company was several million pounds annually, and yet the problem continued to be an issue. "One of the reasons this fraud was not being identified through these measures was because a customer’s claim for a discounted service, or a zero-rated account, cannot be accurately verified through credit reference agency matching alone.” “This process in isolation doesn’t provide the data landscape needed to find the explicit qualifying criteria to confirm a genuine claim.” A POWERFUL PARTNERSHIP IN FRAUD PREVENTION To address this problem Synectics worked with the UK Government’s Cabinet Office and took the opportunity to use the National Fraud Initiative (NFI) intelligence database to help these companies understand and identify the scope of fraud or error that they were suffering. The NFI provides an invaluable database of up-to-date insights and offers 19 different data sets against which to match. This vast solution has already helped over 1200 public sector organisations to identify over £1.7 billion in savings from fraud and error. HOW THE NFI AND SYNECTICS SOLUTIONS HELPED DELIVER A TRANSFORMATIVE APPROACH TO FRAUD DETECTION Over three months, Synectics used the NFI data to help analyse those customers who were in receipt of the following tariffs: Back on Track Tariff This scheme offers six discounted bands and is for customers who are experiencing financial difficulties Pension Discount Customers over the age of 65 may be eligible to financial support from their service provider Single Person Discount Customers who live alone and are entitled to a reduced charge Unoccupied Property Properties declared as vacant can carry no usage charge The pilot showed that 45% of the discounted and void customer accounts that were flagged for investigation by using the NFI intelligence were fraudulent. For those companies in the pilot this represented £3 million worth of fraudulent or incorrectly awarded discount claims. Along with customers unlawfully obtaining discounted tariffs, undisclosed residency also posed a significant problem for the water companies. In fact the pilot discovered that over 74% of the void accounts referred for investigation from just one company were fraudulent. The NFI intelligence, and expert data analysis provided by Synectics, highlighted that significant numbers of customers had failed to notify their water provider of a change in circumstances or provided them with false information to retain or gain their discounted service. The significant amount of fraud found confirmed that standard CRA checks, without the added layer of intelligence offered by the NFI data, could not sufficiently detect this fraudulent activity – exposing providers to potentially millions in lost revenue. ADDITIONAL BENEFITS OF THE PILOT In addition to the enormous opportunity to reduce fraud and error other opportunities also became available as part of the pilot for those companies to: Improve their customer on-boarding processes Greater staff efficiency Better customer satisfaction levels This pilot was firm evidence that utility companies need to transform their ability to address these issues by harnessing better intelligence sources to compile a much more accurate data footprint of their customers’ household composition and circumstances. 45% in the amount of fraud detected when using NFI data The ability to take advantage of the wide variety of intelligence provided by the NFI data could help all utility companies to implement a much more sophisticated and cost effective method to reduce their fraud and error cases. £3million saved in fraudulent claims for discount tariffs Synectics’ ability to build analysis and investigation software, its trusted infrastructure and the strategic relationships built with multiple intelligence providers, such the NFI, can help the utilities sector to reduce its exposure to fraudulent activity – and also help support their social responsibilities by clearly identifying customers who are genuinely entitled to a discounted tariff.
Hear from one of the leading insurers who improved the speed at which they could board genuine customers without compromising on their risk checks, with our Intelligence Hub. Driving down the cost of risk, improving compliance and the customer journey. Ensuring that customer on-boarding or application and claims processing is as frictionless as possible is an essential ingredient when trying to improve risk and compliance checks. To achieve this, risk analysis solutions need to be able to integrate and communicate with a company’s wider decision systems. Applying real-time configurable business logic to data processing is one function of The Intelligence Hub (part of Synectics’ risk management, financial crime and fraud prevention platform) that is helping one of Synectics Solutions’ insurance clients to integrate its fraud prevention solution (SIRA) with its wider customer decision platforms. Outcome Orchestration is allowing the insurer to create a much more sophisticated, efficient and strategically aligned risk mitigation solution. SITUATION This major insurer first deployed Synectics Solutions’ fraud prevention and detection application (SIRA) in 2013. Since the initial deployment the company benefited from SIRA’s effectiveness and derived marked improvements in its working practices and fraud strategy in the claims space. This helped the organisation save significant amounts of revenue by preventing fraud losses. The company’s SIRA solution was configured to deliver real-time alerts to its fraud management team. These alerts were then prioritised and screened for accuracy using Precision – Synectics Solutions’ predictive analytics and data science service. Due to a growth in customers, the insurer needed to realign its fraud and risk strategies and improve its ability to meet its commercial clients’ compliance thresholds. To achieve this the insurer introduced Outcome Orchestration (part of the Intelligence Hub from Synectics Solutions), to enhance and improve its fraud management capabilities.
Harmonising disparate data models and departmental needs into one solution to create a truly effective Financial Crime Risk Management (FCRM) platform has long been the desire of a range of financial services organisations. Can Sentinel from Synectics offer a cost effective solution to FCRM that delivers on the promise of ‘Platformification’ and create a truly single customer view of risk? A need for faster, agile, organisation wide systems Thanks to increased reporting on social media, the 24/7 rolling news cycle, and increased regulator demands, customers and investors of financial services companies are increasingly becoming aware of those organisations that repeatedly fall foul of fraud, financial crime, cyber breach or legal disputes with regulators. Such is the problem that regulators, such as the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in its 2019/20 business plan, are increasingly requiring financial services organisations to show that their FCRM intelligence is capable of being shared across their organisations. They are also starting to call out the need for these systems to go beyond slow, cumbersome (and often ineffective) manual processes to become more automated. This is to aid the reduction in costly post-event remediation activities that often fail to recover funds once acts of financial crime have been perpetrated.
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