Fraud investigators helping to beat personal injury scams, says insurer

Aviva winning 80% of cases it defends in courts after tenfold increase in scrutiny staff

Aviva has highlighted an expensive case “as a reason why insurance companies settle claims rather than risking significant losses”.

Aviva has highlighted an expensive case “as a reason why insurance companies settle claims rather than risking significant losses”.

 

A road traffic accident involving just €80 in damage to a car resulted in Aviva paying out just under €215,000 in personal injury awards and costs, the insurance company has revealed.

Robert Smyth, investigations manager with Aviva, highlighted the case “as a reason why insurance companies settle claims rather than risking significant losses”.

However, he said the insurer was now winning 80 per cent of cases it had defended in the courts this year, putting the success rate down to a tenfold increase in the number of people it employed to investigate suspected fraud.

“It is very evident that in most cases the courts will dismiss claims when the evidence is there to support a dismissal,” said Mr Smyth who has overseen an expansion of Aviva’s investigation unit from three staff in 2015 to 30 today.

“Along with boots of the ground, we have also invested in data analytics.”

Legal costs

On the issue of legal costs, Mr Smyth cited the case of a driver insured by Aviva who tipped the rear of the car that contained a driver and passenger.

Arising from a court case on the personal injury claims, a judge last December awarded one of the parties in the other car €105,000 in damages while the second claimant from the same car received about €5,000 damages.

Aviva also had to pay their legal costs totalling €65,000.

Mr Smyth confirmed that Aviva’s own legal costs from the case totalled €33,000.

Mr Smyth said there was “minimal damage” done to the car owned by the other driver, adding the case was an example of how relatively minor incidents could lead to very high legal costs.