Now more than ever, it’s important to know who you are doing business with. In fact, what you don’t know can hurt you and expose your company to fraud risks that can lead to significant losses, both in revenue and reputation. To help proactively detect and prevent fraud, life carriers should be asking certain questions with each critical business interaction:
Who are you?
This first question is an important step in the process of gathering critical information about potential customers. It includes contact information generally requested on a life insurance application, such as first and last name, current address, date of birth, social security number, and telephone number.
Do you exist?
Next, it’s important to make sure that the identity presented is valid. In other words, is this individual a real person, and not a made up identity or one assumed from a deceased person? Performing a check against public record databases can provide insight by helping to show whether the identity components presented actually belong together.
This step is important because data from various sources might be valid individually, but may not all belong to the same person. For instance, criminals often use stolen Social Security numbers or driver’s license numbers, or those of deceased individuals, to perpetrate fraud.
This makes it even more important to confirm that the data is associated with the person in question and also necessary to determine if the person is using multiple identities or multiple people are using the identity presented. Any discrepancies are reason to perform further due diligence.
Are you who you say you are?
Simply confirming that an identity exists does not ensure that it belongs to the individual presenting it. Knowledge-based authentication techniques, such as interviews or questioning, are most commonly used in “faceless transactions” to help reconcile a customer’s identity. Using public, private and proprietary databases to obtain information not typically found in an individual’s wallet, knowledge-based authentication questions are designed to be answered only by the correct individual and can help reduce fraud significantly. Can I do business with you?