England is a longtime user of voice-stress analysis, the system that’s touted to detect when someone strays from the truth. British insurers as well as government agencies have used the technology to question claimants: it detects changes in voice stress, supposedly a reliable indicator of lying.
The technology has its supporters — and critics — on both sides of the Atlantic. There has been little published data to indicate how well the technology works with insurance claimants.
One borough of London recently released data on the first 1,000 disability claimants on which the technology was tested. Of the 1,000 subjects, 43 — or 4.3 percent — were flagged by the system and all of these were found to have filed false claims or displayed a high potential for committing fraud.
Even more impressive: Another 281 claimants withdrew their claims after they learned about the use of the technology. The withdrawal rate is twice what it was before the technology was used.
So users now claim that voice-stress analysis is not only a detection tool, but a deterrent as well.
Officials say no claim is ever denied solely on the basis of voice-stress analysis, but it does help to direct investigators to claims that merit more scrutiny. It’s also said to help speed claims payments to truthful claimants.
So, is America ready for this technology? In an age when cameras catch red-light violators and the FBI can monitor phone calls and e-mail at will, perhaps Americans would accept this technology — if it helps to keep premiums in check.
I’d like to see the results of more thorough testing first.