Desktop Mapping Combats Insurance Fraud
by Lloyd Borrett
Postcode Boundaries Case Studies, AUSLIG, 1993
Insurance companies are constantly looking for ways to
increase their effectiveness in the fight against fraudulent
insurance claims. One tool now being increasingly employed
because of its low cost, ease of use, and effectiveness is
The following example uses a fictional natural disaster,
insurance company and claim data, but this is a scenario
being acted out by an increasing number of insurance
companies and like-minded organisations faced with similar
A devastating storm hits the northern suburbs of Sydney,
and many millions of dollars worth of property damage is
done by hailstones as large as golf balls. During the coming
weeks hundreds of claims are received by the larger
The insurance fraud investigators in one of these
insurance companies prepare to combat the possibility of
fraudulent claims being lodged.
The Tools Selected
A desktop mapping package, Atlas MapMaker for Windows
from Strategic Mapping, is chosen as an appropriate tool for
The key to quickly locating property damage claims is the
Postcode held on each property address.
Because only thematic maps are required the Minimal
Postcode boundary product is selected.
The Microsoft Excel spreadsheet software package
is selected to build a simple database of claim numbers and
the Postcode of the property.
As a claim is received the claim number and the Postcode
of the property is added to a Microsoft Excel
spreadsheet. See figure 1.
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of insurance claims summary
By the end of the second week after the storm, some two
hundred claims have been received. A summary spreadsheet
with the number of claims for each Postcode is then prepared
in Microsoft Excel. Figure 2 shows this spreadsheet.
Atlas MapMaker for Windows is then started, the
Minimal Postcode boundaries loaded, and the Microsoft
Excel spreadsheet linked.
Microsoft Excel spreadsheet of Postcode
frequency from the insurance claims summary
Figure 3 shows the map that is then displayed on the
screen. The claims in Postcode areas 2062, 2072 and 2094
look somewhat suspicious.
A quick lookup in the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet
gives the claim numbers of the five claims in those
Postcodes and the claims are targeted for further
A cheap, easy-to-use, desktop mapping package coupled
with a widely used spreadsheet package and the Minimal
Postcode boundary product can be used effectively by most
office workers to solve similar problems, improve the
effectiveness of resources and increase business profits.
Thematic map showing insurance claims for northern
Sydney using the Minimal Postcode boundary file.
Saturday, 15 October 2011