The CHO exploring partnership with Cotswold Group

At a time when a number of CHOs are suffering attempts by insurers to re-open claims settled two years ago based on ANPR evidence supplied by the Cotswold Group, The CHO are now engaged in discussions apparently aimed at legitimising the use of Personal Data which has potentially been obtained unlawfully.

The CHO issued the announcement below:

"Using ANPR-data could save CHCs time and money, and help in the ongoing fight against fraud. That was the outcome of a recent meeting between CHO chair Kirsty McKno, James Bilham of Verius and Matthew Cantle, managing director of the Cotswold Group, an investigation business which provides ANPR-enabled services to a variety of different sectors, including in insurance. Cotswold Group recovers data from 850 sites around the UK, varying from motorway services stations to supermarkets, out of town shopping centres and car parks. The data, which is stored on a rolling twelve-month basis, is visual for six months and then changes to data only. It has a 72-hour look back, meaning Monday data is available to look at on Thursday. Matt told the CHO that he is keen to dispel any potential negativity in the credit hire market; he said the data is used compliantly and ethically with a lot of governance and controls. Matt told the CHO that he is keen to work more closely with our members. He is confident that Cotswold will be able to help CHCs self-regulate, and instead of insurers making checks against ANPR hits, CHCs could do so and validate the check on their payment packs, so speeding up settlement. A mass market, ANPR enabled verification standard will enable CHCs to avoid friction, litigation, resource costs, quantum impacts and reputational damage. He felt that the current situation was likely to be creating serious cost and reputational challenges for CHCs, but it could be turned into a positive opportunity. Matthew explained that if a CHC got an ANPR data ‘hit’ for a client, they could investigate it themselves and clarify the reasons why the vehicle was being driven. He said the process was a straightforward factual exercise and there are often legitimate reasons to explain the situation. A hit doesn’t necessarily constitute an obvious fraud, but the CHC has the opportunity to do the check and supply the relevant information in the payment pack. It’s far more efficient for CHCs to undertake the checks themselves, as insurers can all too easily classify any hit as a fraud, with all the friction that ensues. The CHO argues strongly that cooperation is the key to reducing fraud, and CHCs using ANPR data could bring in a new weapon in the fight against fraud. and encourage further cooperation between CHCs and insurers to bring fraudsters to justice. We have asked Matthew whether he would be interested in hosting, with the CHO, a webinar for members to talk through the system and answer any questions. He would also be happy to undertake a pilot project – potentially cost-free - with one or more CHCs to establish proof of concept and give the industry some case studies. Matthew feels that ANPR is a great opportunity for CHCs to reduce friction and counter fraud, which is a persistent problem in our industry. He said that Cotswold Group wants to work with the CHO in a spirit of trust and openness. The opportunity to demonstrate to external stakeholders that the credit hire sector is a progressive industry that is willing to adopt smart data led processes to improve governance and cost controls. For any CHCs interested in talking to Matthew about the opportunity, and potentially participating in a pilot, please contact the Chair. Please do bear in mind that CHO does not assume any responsibility for any specific member company. Our updates are for information and guidance purposes only. It is the case that each and every member company must always take their own independent advice in respect of the specific circumstances that apply to their company." Members seeking to access ANPR data provided by the Cotswold Group may wish to seek advice from specialist GDPR counsel as to whether such data sharing offends the Data Protection Act 2018.

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