We accepted 96% of UK claims in 2016 worth more than £2.7 billion

Aviva paid £2.7 billion last year in cash settlements and services to more than 775,000 UK customers claiming on their individual insurance policies.

Aviva paid £2.7 billion last year in cash settlements and services to more than 775,000 UK customers claiming on their individual insurance policies. The vast majority (96%) of claims were accepted across Aviva’s motor, home, travel, protection and health insurance policies* in 2016.

The small number (4%) of claims not settled last year were due to reasons that are common across the industry. The top three reasons for not paying a claim were fraud, misunderstandings on the level of cover or nature of the policy, and failure to  disclose important information when taking the policy out.

man in a car being helped by paramedics

Some of the largest claims that Aviva settled highlight the help and support that insurance can provide. These include a car repair for more than £100,000, a travel insurance claim for medical expenses for more than £500,000 and a £700,000 home insurance claim following a fire.

For smaller claims, we are using digital tools to make claiming quick and easy

For smaller claims, Aviva is using digital tools to make claiming quick and easy. One in four of all direct personal claims were notified through MyAviva, the online portal that allows customers to manage all their policies in one place. As a result, customers’ claims are dealt with faster, with around 40% of straight-forward health and home claims settled in a matter of minutes.

Claims: perception v reality

Consumer research commissioned by Aviva found that six out of 10 (60%) people believe that insurers only settle between 31% - 60% of claims.** Table one below outlines the number and percentage of claims Aviva settled in 2016, by policy type. 

Aviva individual claims paid 2016 Claims settled Claims settled (%)
Private motor (not including third party) 360,278
Home 93,172 93.2%
Travel 106,735 87.8%
Life insurance 15,525 98.9%
Critical illness 4,268 92.3%
Income protection 3,549 92.6%
Health insurance and group protection 192,000 94% and 95.4%

Rob Townend, Aviva’s UK Claims Director, said, “There’s no such thing as an ‘average’ claim. Each claim has its own story – a human story – where our customers are relying on us for our help and expertise to put things right. This is why people buy insurance – to remove uncertainty from their lives. Helping our customers when they need it most is why we are here.  

Helping our customers when they need it most is why we are here

“Where we haven’t paid a claim, we wanted to share the main reasons why, and what our customers can do about it. That’s why we have published our ratio of settled claims across a broad range of personal lines business, from health and general insurance to life and protection.”


Aviva settled more than 360,000 motor insurance claims last year, accepting 99.8% of claims. However, Aviva declined one in seven third party whiplash claims for proven or suspect fraud. Bogus claims for injury from third parties account for 59% of the total fraud Aviva  detects, and is worth £50m.

Aviva vigorously defends its customers against exaggerated and fraudulent claims and prosecutes those who seek to defraud customers.

The average value of a claim for vehicle repair was around £2,000, but Aviva repairs cars of all shapes and sizes, including a claim last year for more than £100,000 to repair a damaged Ferrari 488 GTB Coupe.

Where a car cannot be repaired, digital tools are playing an important role in speeding up settlements for total losses: in more than one in three (35%) total loss claims, Aviva is able to agree a value and pay the customer, all on the first call.

Motor insurance is about more than just bent metal

Motor insurance is about more than just bent metal, though, tragically highlighted by a claim Aviva settled for more than £7m to a customer requiring 24-hour-a-day care after suffering a head injury in a collision. 

Around half (49%) of Aviva’s total motor claims bill goes to pay for personal injuries, 95% of which are for minor, short-term injuries, such as whiplash.***

Repairing damage to the vehicle, both our customers’ and the other party involved, accounts for a combined 45% of motor claims costs. Claims for theft, windscreen and fire account for a combined 6% of all motor claims Aviva costs.


Aviva accepted more than 93,000 home insurance claims last year, or 93.2% of claims received. The most common reasons for declining claims were due to cover not extending to mechanical breakdown, wear and tear and garden fences – which are commonly excluded as they are highly susceptible to wind damage, particularly if they’re old or have been poorly installed. 

Wear and tear is not typically covered by home insurance as cover is for unforeseen events, not for damage occurring over a period of time. Damp, for example, can cause major problems if left untreated and is not usually covered by home insurance. 

Improved awareness of what insurance does and doesn’t cover could prevent some of these claims which are declined. Aviva’s research found that half (50%) of consumers only check their policy’s terms and conditions when they come to claim.

Customers who familiarise themselves with their cover when they purchase their policy can ensure the cover they are buying best reflects their needs. 

The most common household claims relate to water leaks and accidental damage

The most common household claims relate to water leaks and accidental damage. Claims from burst pipes – especially at this time of year when pipes can freeze – can easily exceed £10,000, and can be devastating for homeowners.

 Fire and flood are also leading reasons for claim and when the worst happens, home insurance is there to rebuild, replace and help the customer get back to ‘normal’.

In such cases, the value of the insurance is almost immeasurable and can prevent financial catastrophe, as illustrated when Aviva settled a £700,000 claim last year when a house and its contents were destroyed by a fire.

Floods also cause extensive damage to buildings and contents. Following Storm Desmond last year, the cost of flood damage to individual properties ranged from £30,000 to well over £100,000. Here, insurance not only covers the cost of repairs, replacing belongings and rebuilding property , but also provides alternative accommodation for families who may be out of their homes for several months.


Aviva accepted 87.8% of travel insurance claims, amounting to nearly 107,000 claims last year. Claims are most commonly declined due to cancellation, travel delay and failure to disclose an existing medical condition. While cancellation is covered, it only applies if the customer is unable to travel for reasons given in the policy, for example if they fall ill. 

It’s also important that when purchasing travel insurance, customers tell their insurer of any medical conditions which could affect their ability to travel, or their likelihood of falling ill while travelling .

In many instances, cover can still be offered with the exclusion of the existing condition, providing multiple benefits such as insurance for lost baggage, travel delay and other medical expenses not related to the customer’s medical condition.

Travel insurance can provide life-saving support

The financial, logistical and emotional support that travel insurance can provide was highlighted in a claim Aviva received last year for more than £500,000. A customer suffered a bleed to the brain and subsequent seizure in the United States, ending up in hospital  for ten weeks before they were well enough to fly home by Air Ambulance – which cost £48,000 on its own.

At such times, travel insurance can provide life-saving support through the expertise of Aviva’s travel claims team. 

Individual protection 

More than 23,000 Aviva UK customers and their families**** benefited from individual protection policies in 2016, with £870 million paid out on life insurance, critical illness and income protection claims. That’s the equivalent of more than £2.4 million paid every day to help customers in their time of need.

The most common type of protection policy held by UK individuals, life insurance pays out an amount of money when the person covered dies or becomes terminally ill. 

We paid 98.9% of life and terminal illness claims in 2016 to more than 15,500 beneficiaries

Aviva paid 98.9% of life and terminal illness claims last year to more than 15,500 beneficiaries, with just 1% of claims declined due to the customer not making accurate statements about their health and lifestyle when they applied for the policy, or the policy definition for a terminal diagnosis was not met.

Critical illness cover pays out an agreed cash sum if the person covered is diagnosed with a defined critical illness. Last year Aviva paid 92.3% of such claims, with more than £311 million paid out to help families manage the financial burden when a serious illness had been diagnosed.

The most common reason for our critical illness claims was cancer

The most common cause of claim was cancer, accounting for 63% of all claims. Of the 7.7% of claims that could not be paid, 1% was due to misrepresentation of important, relevant medical information and 6.5% were due to the condition not being covered by the policy ..

Income protection is a long-term policy designed to replace a proportion of income for those who can’t work due to illness or injury. Aviva accepted 92.6% of claims last year, paying out more than £37 million in monthly benefit to help more than 3,500 customers meet their regular household outgoings.

With the average age of incapacity being 45 years, when many people will still have dependent children, such policies provide a crucial financial lifeline allowing the customer time to recover. Of the small proportion (7.4%) of claims that were declined or terminated, the leading reason was that the definition of disability was not met.

Health and group protection

£721 million was paid out to customers with private medical insurance (PMI) and group protection policies in 2016. 94% of PMI claims and 95.4% of group protection***** claims were paid.

Aviva’s dedicated health claims team helped 185,000 PMI customers to access prompt, private medical treatment and care, with specialist oncology case management for those diagnosed with cancer. The most common conditions claimed for were musculoskeletal (29%), such as low back or knee pain, with customers gaining early physio intervention to aid recovery.

The leading condition in terms of cost of treatment was cancer, at 22% of all claims costs, with prostate and breast cancer being the most common cancer types. The most common reason for a claim being declined was because the policy had an agreed excess that was greater than the cost of the claim. 

In group protection, more than 7,000 customers benefited from life insurance, critical illness cover and income protection policies provided by their employer.

With an increased focus on rehabilitation support for group income protection customers, 9 in 10 employees (88%) who called Aviva for rehabilitation support or to make a claim in 2016 made a successful return to work, or were able to remain in work after intervention .

We settle 24 out of every 25 customer claims we receive

Rob Townend concluded, “Insurers play a critical role in society, helping customers get back on their feet when they need it most. As our research shows, though, insurers have more work to do in building trust with our customers. That’s why we have published our settled claims data. Aviva settles the overwhelming majority of customer claims – 24 out of every 25 we receive.

Rob Townend of Aviva
Rob Townend, UK Claims Director, Aviva

"We recognise each claim as an opportunity to build that trust with our customers, and we will work tirelessly to look after our customers when they need us the most.

“Insurance might not be the most exciting subject, but it often proves vital in protecting what really matters to us: our health and our homes, our possessions and our financial stability when the worst happens.

"At Aviva, we work hard to help our customers prevent these things from happening – and to fix them fast when they do.”


Media enquiries :

Erik Nelson : 07989 427086

Melissa Loughran: 07800 691947 

Notes to editors: 

* These figures do not include claims from Aviva’s UK General Insurance commercial business or non-travel Personal Speciality claims (e.g. mobiles, pet, etc).
** Research conducted by Censuswide, with 2,003 UK adults aged over 18 in Great Britain in November 2017. The survey was conducted from a random sample of UK adults. Censuswide abide by and employ members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR.
*** https://www.aviva.co.uk/car-insurance/your-car-price-explained/
**** Aviva now administers Friends Life individual protection policies following the acquisition of Friends Life in April 2015. All data presented is for the combined Aviva and Friends Life book of individual protection policies, sold direct or through independent financial and partners.
***** The percentage of claims paid for group protection is an aggregate figure for group income protection, group critical illness and group life, calculated using the GRiD methodology.

About Aviva:

  • Aviva provides life insurance, general insurance, health insurance and asset management to 33 million customers.
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  • Aviva helps people save for the future and manage the risks of everyday life; we paid out £34.4 billion in benefits and claims in 2016 ..
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