Aviva: Fraudulent claims are on the rise

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The value and volume of fraudulent claims detected by Aviva have increased for the second consecutive year.

There was a 5.4% increase in the value of fraud detected by Aviva in 2017, up to £90 million from £85 million in 2016.

Motor insurance remains of particular concern to the insurer, representing £59 million of the total value of fraud detected, and an increase of £9 million over Aviva’s 2016 figures.

Aviva now rejects around one in eight whiplash claims that are suspect or fraudulent.

The insurer is currently investigating nearly 17,000 personal injury claims for suspected fraud—1,000 more than last year.

Aviva used these figures to renew calls for parliamentary backing of the Civil Liability Bill, which the insurer said will remove the financial incentive for opportunistic fraud and bring down the cost of motor insurance.

Tom Gardiner, head of fraud at Aviva UK Insurance, said: “Whiplash fraud continues to present the biggest threat to customers—not just in terms of pushing premiums up, but by fraudsters putting innocent motorists at the risk of real harm by deliberately causing accidents to make bogus whiplash claims. Change is urgently needed. The proposed Civil Liability Bill will deter fraudsters from pursuing their campaign of crash for cash, simply to line their pockets. The good news in the meantime is that we are detecting, disrupting and prosecuting more fraud.”

In addition to detecting fraud, Aviva is working closely with the police to bring fraudsters to justice. Last year, the insurer helped to bring 68 successful criminal prosecutions for fraud.

Aviva is also investing in defending customers who have been wrongly accused of being at fault in an accident. The majority (80%) of fraud that Aviva detects is committed by other people against its customers. This helps to protect customers’ premiums and excesses from the impact an ‘at-fault’ claim can have.

The insurer defended its customers against more than 800 spurious claims at court in 2017 and in the last two years has had more than 250 claims against its customers struck out due to findings of fundamental dishonesty.

Aviva now screens all new and existing motor business to prevent fraudsters and gangs from buying policies with the express intention of submitting fraudulent claims. Last year, the insurer avoided more than 14,000 policies where the applicant had known links to fraud.

Aviva’s managing director of UK general insurance, Rob Townend, who has just been appointed chair of the board of the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB), has long-championed the industry’s calls for meaningful personal injury reform, which will remove the easy access to compensation that encourages many fraudsters.

Townend has also served on the personal injury sub-group of the Insurance Fraud Taskforce, which investigated the causes of insurance fraud and recommend solutions to reduce fraud, lower associated costs and protect honest consumers.

He commented: “Detecting, stopping and preventing insurance fraud is a priority for our industry. As IFB chair I will be focused on continuing the sustained fight against crime. We have the knowledge and expertise to stop fraudsters in their tracks and to remain one step ahead of any fresh attempts to defraud the insurance industry and its customers.”

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Mark Dugdale is the editor of Claims Media. Mark welcomes articles, letters or feedback from readers and can be reached via mark.dugdale@barkerbrooks.co.uk