Over the years, special investigation units (SIUs) have rapidly evolved in terms of methodology and structure in response to a changing world and emerging fraud schemes. Just ask Tim Wolfe. Here, CNA’s SIU director talks to Claims’ Christina Bramlet about the shift as well as how insurers are parlaying qualified vendors and specialized functions to combat fraud and stay nimble.

SIUs have undergone various permutations since the 1990s heydays of large field teams. Would you speak to the changing landscape?

At one time, the model was that carriers would have their own in-house SIUs staffed primarily by former members of law enforcement. These professionals would go out and conduct investigations and interviews, prosecuting for fraud when evidence existed. In 2001, a watershed occurred. All of a sudden, insurers were not making money with investments. This necessitated cutbacks, which included substantial scaling back in SIU.

Outsourcing became increasingly more common. Some companies were forced to lay off their entire SIU staffs, whereas others employed a skeleton crew to start managing national SIU vendors.

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