Aviva detected 39% more claims fraud in 2023

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  • Aviva detected 39% more instances of fraud in 2023 than it did in 2022, uncovering more than 11,000 fraudulent claims worth more than £116m
  • Fraudulent claims for motor damage rose by 123%; motor injury fraud grew by 19%
  • Motor fraud accounts for 66% of all detected fraud
  • Aviva has more than 13,100 claims under investigation for suspected fraud
  • Motor policy application fraud up 64% to 51,000 fraudulent motor policies avoided 

Aviva reported a 39% increase in the number of claims declined as a result of fraud in 2023, uncovering more than 11,000 suspect claims worth £116m – the equivalent of 30 bogus claims a day with a value of £318,000. Aviva is investigating a further 13,100 claims for suspected fraud.*

Fraudulent motor insurance claims for injury and vehicle damage represented the majority of detected fraud, accounting for two out of three (66%) suspect claims.

Motor injury and crash for cash

Motor injury fraud remains the most popular target for fraudsters, accounting for 35% of all bogus claims Aviva detected. The number of fraudulent injury claims declined for suspected fraud grew by 19% and was worth more than £23m - £6m of which came from declined crash for cash claims.

A large proportion of the injury claims Aviva declined for fraud are opportunistic claims brought by third parties (not Aviva customers) – for example, an exaggerated injury claim stemming from a low-speed accident, such as a shunt in a car park. Aviva defended more than 400 such fraudulent or exaggerated bodily injury claims at trial to limit the impact that these claims can have on customers’ motor premiums.

Motor damage

Fraudulent claims for motor damage rocketed by 123%, as third parties sought to exaggerate and inflate the cost of repair and credit hire claims. As highlighted by Aviva in 2022, organised whiplash fraudsters have refocused their efforts on the repair aspects of a motor claim, including credit hire and repair. Aviva has witnessed particular growth in motor damage fraud after the Whiplash Reforms came into effect in 2021, signaling a shift in focus for organised fraudsters.

Spoof ads

Though not technically fraud, the use of ‘spoof ads’ on internet search engines by a small number of unscrupulous claims and accident management companies (CMC / AMC) continues to mislead customers into thinking they are contacting their motor insurer to claim for an accident they’ve had.

The trouble arises when the at-fault insurer challenges the inflated costs presented by the CMC or AMC. The claims company will then pressure the customer into paying, as they will have signed contracts obliging them to pay if the repair, credit hire and other costs can’t be recovered. These costs are frequently in the tens of thousands of pounds. Although this would normally be covered as part of the customer’s insurance policy, because the customer inadvertently (and often unknowingly) claimed via a CMC or AMC, the insurer is both unaware of the claim and unable to help the customer.

Investment and industry firsts

To protect customers from the effects of fraud, Aviva continues to invest in its detection capabilities. This has seen Aviva double the number of employees dedicated to investigating fraud, as well as delivering more than 6,000 hours of counter-fraud training for its people.

To protect customers from the effects of fraud, Aviva continues to invest in its detection capabilities.

Aviva has also invested in vigorously defending fraudulent or inflated claims and, where appropriate, aiding in the prosecution of those who have committed fraud. Last year the insurer helped secure more than 17 years of custodial sentences from prosecutions, and 39 findings of Fundamental Dishonesty – the latter of which obliges the dishonest claimant to pay the costs of defending the spurious claim.

Aviva also secured a landmark deterrent against committing fraud, working with the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) last year to secure the first Serious Crime Prevention Order (SCPO) against a convicted fraudster. A breach of the order can result in an immediate custodial sentence of up to five years and an unlimited fine, and is expected to be a powerful weapon preventing known fraudsters from reoffending.

Last week Aviva used another recently available tool to recover a fraudulent settlement payment. The money was held in a bank account belonging to the fraudster and subject to an Account Freezing Order (AFO) obtained by HMRC. Section 303Z17A of the Proceeds of Crime Act was introduced at the end of 2023 and allows victims of crime – in this case, Aviva – to apply for the release of money which belongs to them but is restrained by an AFO. Aviva is believed to be the first insurer to test the new legislation and successfully recover its loss.  

Application fraud and ‘ghost broking’

Aviva identified fraud on more than 51,000 motor policy applications, up 64% on 2022 policy fraud detection figures. The sharp increase reflects the continual training and investment that Aviva has made in its policy fraud detection capabilities. By keeping known fraudsters off its books, Aviva is able to protect customers from the worst effects of policy fraud, ensuring its genuine customers don’t pay for the actions of fraudsters.

These figures also include policies sold by unregulated third parties, known as ‘ghost brokers’. Ghost brokers act as an insurance intermediary and purchase insurance policies using false or misleading information about the customer to acquire cheaper insurance. Ghost brokers will then frequently alter the insurance ‘policy’ before sharing with their ‘customer’ to show ‘proof’ of their insurance purchase. However, the insurance policy is all but worthless, as the ghost broker obtains the policy through lying and misrepresenting the identity and/or nature of the risk being insured (such as address, age of driver, etc.). 

The result is that the ‘policyholder’ directly compensates the fraudster for a worthless policy, meaning they are driving without valid insurance which is not only illegal, but also carries all of the associated risks of driving uninsured.

Liability fraud

The next largest area for fraudulent claims is in liability, such as bogus slips and trips. Fraudulent claims for liability represent 23% of all fraudulent claims detected by Aviva. Despite the number of fraudulent liability claims remaining flat, the value of these claims has grown by 9% year-on-year, highlighting the importance of detection in this area.

Household fraud

Household fraud accounted for 6% of detected fraud and was primarily comprised of claims for valuable items. The most popular items that were fraudulently claimed for were:

  1. Jewellery/rings
  2. Mobile phones
  3. TV's
  4. Laptops
  5. Tablets

Pete Ward, Head of Claims Counter Fraud at Aviva, said, “We’re here to help our customers when something’s gone wrong, settling their claim quickly and fairly. But where we detect fraud, we will vigorously defend fraudulent or inflated claims and, where appropriate, prosecute those who target Aviva.

We’ve invested in the tools, technology and people necessary to create a robust counter-fraud capability, helping to ensure the cost of insurance fraud is not passed onto our customers.

“That’s why we’ve invested in the tools, technology and people necessary to create a robust counter-fraud capability, helping to ensure the cost of insurance fraud is not passed onto our customers. This investment has improved our ability to detect fraud across all lines of business and has contributed to the steep rise in the number of fraudulent claims we detected last year – particularly in motor, where exaggerated claims for damage have rocketed.

“Last year also saw Aviva, working with IFED, secure the industry’s first Serious Crime Prevention Order against Hamed Sediqi, who repeatedly targeted Aviva in an organised motor fraud campaign. This is a landmark result against a serial fraudster which will not only protect Aviva and its customers from being targeted, but should also act as a wake-up call to other professional fraudsters about the consequences of their actions. Combined with our recent successful application of the Proceeds of Crime Act, Aviva continues not only to detect fraud, but also create powerful deterrents against committing insurance fraud in the first place.”



*All figures are based on Aviva’s own data for the general insurance fraud it detected in 2023. 


Erik Nelson

Motor Insurance and Compensation Culture, Fraud and Data

Notes to editors:

  • We are the UK's leading diversified insurer and we operate in the UK, Ireland and Canada. We also have international investments in India and China.
  • We help our 19.2 million (as at 31 December 2023) customers make the most out of life, plan for the future, and have the confidence that if things go wrong we’ll be there to put it right.
  • We have been taking care of people for more than 325 years, in line with our purpose of being ‘with you today, for a better tomorrow’. In 2023, we paid £25.6 billion in claims and benefits to our customers.
  • In 2021, we announced our ambition to become Net Zero by 2040, the first major insurance company in the world to do so. We are aiming to have Net Zero carbon emissions from Aviva’s operations and supply chain by 2030. While we are working towards our sustainability ambitions, we recognise that while we have control over Aviva’s operations and influence on our supply chain, when it comes to decarbonising the economy in which we operate and invest, Aviva is one part of a far larger global ecosystem. There are also limits to our ability to influence other organisations and governments. Nevertheless, we remain focused on the task and are committed to playing our part in the collective effort to enable the global transition. Find out more about our climate goals at www.aviva.com/climate-goals and our sustainability ambition and action at www.aviva.com/sustainability
  • Aviva is a Living Wage, Living Pension and Living Hours employer and provides market-leading benefits for our people, including flexible working, paid carers leave and equal parental leave. Find out more at https://www.aviva.com/about-us/our-people/
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