Aviva’s most unusual fraud cases revealed

Cloe up of an open wallet
  • Aviva uncovered more than 9,250 instances of fraud in 2022, saving £120m in bogus payouts
  • Organised fraudsters leaving whiplash for motor repair, as fall in fraudulent injury claims offset by a 22% increase in fraudulent repair claims
  • Aviva deploys new counter-fraud technology solutions

Insurer Aviva has shared some of the strangest bogus claims it received last year, as it reveals that it uncovered more than 9,250 instances of fraud in 2022 – saving customers £120m.

Within the fraud that was detected throughout the year, Aviva’s investigators identified a range of whoppers that led to spurious claims being denied. From a six-year-old allegedly driving a car to edited images, Aviva investigated more than 19,000 claims for fraud in 2022.

One of Aviva’s eagle-eyed investigators stopped a fraudulent theft claim in its tracks when she raised suspicions around an image of a men’s Omega De Ville Prestige black dial watch, valued at over £20,000. While conducting further in-depth checks, she found an image online of an identical watch, reading the exact same time to the second, confirming that the image submitted with the claim had been altered. Aviva subsequently declined the claim.

Suspicions were also aroused when a holidaymaker reported losing both their newly insured wedding and engagement rings in the sea in Greece. The claimant was unable to provide documents to support the claim, such as proof of flights, hotel details, proof of purchase or any photos taken on holiday where the rings could be seen. Following Aviva’s questions, the claim was withdrawn as, incredibly, the engagement ring was ‘found’ in Greece by a stranger who tracked down the owner through Facebook. Despite Aviva’s questions about how it was found in the sea, how they discovered who the owner was and then managed to contact them on Facebook, no answers were provided and the claim was declined and closed.

Motor bodily injury fraud still remains prevalent and accounted for 48% of all fraudulent claims Aviva received in 2022.

Motor bodily injury fraud still remains prevalent and accounted for 48% of all fraudulent claims Aviva received in 2022. In one declined claim, a medical expert reported that the claimant was a six-year-old child, only for the same medical expert to confirm that the claimant was driving the car! Another fraudulent claim was identified when a front seat passenger reported injuries caused by 'immense pressure applied to brake', despite the fact it would be virtually impossible for the passenger to access the brake pedal.


Repair and replacement fraud increases

Last year Aviva identified signs that organised whiplash fraudsters were moving away from motor injury fraud and into fraud related to the repair and replacement of damaged vehicles. This appears to be borne out, as Aviva detected 22% more fraud on claims for damaged vehicles last year, of which nearly two-thirds was organised fraud committed by third parties. Aviva detected an increase in motor collision fraud in Q4 last year, and expects this trend to continue into 2023.

Home insurance fraud

The number of home insurance frauds detected by Aviva jumped by 18% last year. In one instance, the leaseholder of an insured property was rumbled when he submitted a claim for escape of water and loss of rent, claiming £6,000 in lost rent over a four-month period while the property was in a damaged state. However when a representative for Aviva attended the property, the tenant explained their landlord had not reduced or stopped the rent at any point – he had in fact done the opposite and increased the rent during this period. The tenant also explained the leaseholder had known about the escape of water and had taken no action for four months, allowing the damage to worsen during this period. The leaseholder subsequently confessed that he had claimed for loss of rent knowing he had not suffered any loss in this regard.

Aviva also saw more bogus claims for accidental damage, accidental loss and theft last year. With this in mind, Aviva has deployed new counter-fraud technology solutions, including  strengthening its fraud detection tools. The top five items declined for home insurance fraud are:

  1. Mobile phones
  2. Televisions 
  3. Jewellery
  4. Laptops/tablets
  5. Watches
We want to help our customers when they need us and we are committed to ensuring that the cost of insurance fraud is not passed on to our genuine customers.

Pete Ward, Head of Claims Counter Fraud at Aviva, said: “While some of the fraudulent claims we detected may seem laughable, insurance fraud is no laughing matter. We have more than 10,000 claims currently under investigation and are committed to tackling fraud. Aviva is here to pay genuine claims quickly, but we won’t pay fraudulent claims. We want to help our customers when they need us and we are committed to ensuring that the cost of insurance fraud is not passed on to our genuine customers.

“Pursuing a fraudulent claim is a very serious matter and there can be many consequences for the individual. It can potentially result in the individual’s name being added to the Insurance Fraud Register, an industry-wide database of known fraudsters. The register is used by insurers when making underwriting decisions and assessing claims, which means inclusion on this list can impact future insurance applications, credit rating and mortgage applications.”

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Enquiries:

Claire Jermany

General Insurance⁠ — Commercial Lines, Community, Heritage

Notes to editors:

  • We are the UK’s leading Insurance, Wealth & Retirement business and we operate in the UK, Ireland and Canada. We also have international investments in India and China.
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