Digital Media Fraud Threats in the Insurance Ecosystem

Through the process of digital transformation, insurance has grown increasingly reliant on digital media to make actionable decisions regarding the condition of insured assets for both claims and underwriting. This industry modernization, which has in many ways simplified and consumerized insurance processes is also ushering in new forms of digital media fraud insurers should be aware of.

This new threat of fraud has been perpetuated by two important trends:

  1. The growing need for and proliferation of self-service insurance processes

  2. The emergence of sophisticated AI-enhanced tools to edit images or videos

Self-service insurance processes

When mobile phones put the power of networked cameras into the hands of the masses, it was bound to have an impact on the insurance industry, which relies on photos to establish the condition of insured assets. With estimates of well over a trillion photos taken annually by mobile phone users and rapid yearly improvements in mobile camera quality, it is only natural that mobile phones have evolved into a primary device for gathering insurance photos.

The proliferation of mobile phones is reason enough to disrupt the traditional process of sending inspectors to take photos of personal or commercial assets. Satisfactory photo quality and improved convenience make a strong case for transitioning a lot of the claims and inspections, that are currently manually performed by inspectors, to self-service. Read more >

self-service processing

Deepfakes and AI-enhanced photos and videos

The age of digital photographs began in 1957. With the advent of photo editing software in 1987, digital photos’ validity and trustworthiness could legitimately come into question. In spite of this, digital photographs are often cavalierly used in many business decisions today, perhaps in the hope that amateur alterations to photos can easily be rooted out.

In late 2018 and 2019, AI-enhanced tools to alter digital media started to emerge, such as deepfakes, that could take existing media files and modify them in ways that are undetectable to the human eye and to many machine-based tamper detection tools. As AI technology progresses, it is presumed that fakes will eventually become entirely undetectable by avoiding the forensic traces typically associated with media that has been altered or edited with more primitive tools.

In social media contexts, you may have seen examples of how deepfake videos can distort the messages of influencers, politicians, and actors. Perhaps the deepfake of Mark Zuckerberg, the cheap fake of Nancy Pelosi, or the admission of a top deepfake artist that he has created a monster has moved the problem of altered videos beyond a nuisance. Not only have altered videos become more realistic, but they are also becoming easier to create.

This trend of media fakery, which is unlikely to vanish any time soon, demands taking a serious look at how to mitigate the risk of altered media entering digital insurance workflows. Ignoring the threat can multiply exposure to fraud, and negatively impact loss ratios.

To keep reading about the deepfake, AI-enhanced photos and videos and self-service solutions in insurance, get our ebook on combatting digital photo and media fraud in insurance.

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Nicos Vekiarides

Nicos Vekiarides

Nicos Vekiarides is the Chief Executive Officer & co-founder of Attestiv. He has spent the past 20+ years in enterprise IT and cloud, as a CEO & entrepreneur, bringing innovative new technologies to market. His previous startup, TwinStrata, an innovative cloud storage company where he pioneered cloud-integrated storage for the enterprise, was acquired by EMC in 2014. Before that, he brought to market the industry’s first storage virtualization appliance for StorageApps, a company later acquired by HP.

Nicos holds 6 technology patents in storage, networking and cloud technology and has published numerous articles on new technologies. Nicos is a partner at Mentors Fund, an early-stage venture fund, a mentor at Founder Institute Boston, where he coaches first-time entrepreneurs, and an advisor to several companies. Nicos holds degrees from MIT and Carnegie Mellon University.

Mark Morley

Mark Morley is the Chief Operating Officer of Attestiv.

He received his formative Data Integrity training at Deloitte. Served as the CFO of Iomega (NYSE), the international manufacturer of Zip storage devices, at the time,  the second fastest-growing public company in the U.S.. He served as the CFO of Encore Computer (NASDAQ) as it grew from Revenue of $2 million to over $200 million. During “Desert Storm”, Mark was required to hold the highest U.S. and NATO clearances.

Mark authored a seminal article on Data Integrity online (Wall Street Journal Online). Additionally, he served as EVP, General Counsel and CFO at Digital Guardian, a high-growth cybersecurity company.

Earlier in his career, he worked at an independent insurance agency, Amica as a claims representative, and was the CEO of the captive insurance subsidiary of a NYSE company.

He obtained Bachelor (Economics) and Doctor of Law degrees from Boston College and is a graduate of Harvard Business School.