My original plan was to be a police officer...

"RSA, and all the partners I work alongside in other insurance companies, have high moral compasses when it comes to catching insurance fraudsters"

How did you get into insurance?

My original plan was to be a police officer, then I went to university and I quickly realised that night shifts weren’t for me! So when I returned from university for the summer and saw a role for a business team member with RSA in the local Halifax newspaper, I thought I’d apply.

Now I can say that I have the perfect job for me! As a qualified economist, I'm totally focused on financial performance and effectiveness which I have managed to combine that with criminal investigations.

What are you working on at the moment?

The ongoing transformation of the fraudster from the physical claims world to the digital arena is what keeps me awake at night. Being able to stay one step ahead by having the right detection technology in place and then adapting and innovating our investigative responses to ensure we catch the fraudsters. My aim is to prevent as well as detect fraudsters through a combination of using data and analytics combined with traditional investigation methods.

What makes it harder is that the Internet is global, so fraudsters aren't just in the UK or where RSA operates. They could be anywhere in the world.

When are you at your happiest?

That’s easy! When I am sat on a motorbike or stood at the top of a mountain with two skis strapped to the bottom of my feet.

What skills would you like to learn?

Are we talking personal or professional?

For work, I'd certainly like to know more about the technologies that are out there to detect fraud and learn more, be able to implement those things quicker into the organisation. But on a personal level, I’d love to learn how to play guitar and drums. Also plumbing and electrics!

What film or book title best describes you?

What tools do you use to catch insurance fraudsters?

We use social network analysis, predictive modelling, database rules and increasingly artificial intelligence (AI). We share and exchange information on fraudsters with other insurance companies and other financial services. We work in partnership with the insurance fraud bureau and with the insurance fraud enforcement department with the police.

What will the insurance fraud investigator of the future look like?

They’ll have data analysis, technology, online tracking and investigative core skills and they may well come from other sectors. Online retailers for example.

Physical fraud won’t go away though. We will always need a traditional response as well. Insurance fraud investigators of the future will still need to interview people, but maybe via a video link, but, it is likely we will still need to visit people to view the damage that's part of the insurance claim.

What's surprised you most about the insurance industry?

The high degree of collaboration across our industry when it comes to insurance fraud. We have a very high moral compass in terms of catching insurance fraudsters and that's something that runs not just through RSA but through all the partners I work alongside in the other insurance companies. There is a lot of sharing of information.

What are you currently binge watching/reading/listening to?

Line of Duty, Killing Eve and anything that Sally Wainwright's written. It's probably because I'm from Halifax.

If I’m listening, it's always, always, always rock music.

What's your go-to dinner party recipe?

Anything easy! Probably a meat pie. I'm not much of a cook, so if not a pie, a barbecue or fillet steak are most likely.

What is the last thing you searched for on your phone?

A 12 x 10 garden shed to put my motorbike in.


The actual shed, in situ.

Adele Sumner talking about insurance fraud detection techniques - still from a filmed interview. Copyright RSA Play video
What tools is RSA using to detect insurance fraud?

What changes would you like to see in the next three years in our industry?

Genuinely what I would like to see is a significant shift toward digital interaction with customers. It will help us deliver a better service to customers who want to interact with us in that way. From a fraud detection perspective, it would also give us more data to help us make sure that we spend our time investigating fraudsters. 

Ultimately, our aim is to catch fraudsters and ensure honest customers are not put through a fraud process.

When was the last time you belly-laughed?

Last weekend when I went to see my friend of over 20 years. We met on my first day at university and we've been friends ever since. The belly laughing started literally within five minutes of walking into her house!