Dozens withdraw personal injury claims at the last minute: Aviva Insurance

Aviva describes fradulent claims as "a major cost to the insurance industry, customers and to society at large"



29 June 2023

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Aviva Insurance reports it is currently investigating around 800 new suspected fraudulent claims since 2021, worth around €30m.

The company has carried out new research which reveals that in the past two years, 91 claimants who brought claims against insured customers withdrew from litigation before their court hearing, with many doing so on the steps of the court.

The Irish Independent reports that in total there were 91 withdrawals, 70 cases were dismissed by the courts, 53 were adjourned, while 50 people had successful claims. The cost involved in defending the cases was approximately €2m.

Aviva stated its analysis shows an increasing number of claimants will withdraw their claims when it is clear that the insurer will not settle and is prepared to challenge them in court. In many cases, plaintiffs and their legal representatives attempted to settle by offering to accept reduced amounts of compensation.

Aviva described these claims as a major cost to the insurance industry, customers and to society at large.

“There continues to be a cohort of individuals who are willing to fake accidents and personal injuries in the hope of receiving a generous pay-out from the courts,” said Rob Smyth, senior fraud manager with Aviva.

“The costs of investigating and defending suspected fraudulent claims, the majority of which take a minimum of between three to five years to come before the courts, are significant.”

Mr Smyth said the 91 cases represent only a small percentage of the suspected fraudulent or exaggerated claims the company receives each year.

“Behind each one of these cases is an innocent customer who has been subjected to unnecessary stress and trauma over a protracted period as they await the outcome of the case,” he added.

“Many find the whole legal process and the prospect of having to give evidence in court to be very intimidating. We are very grateful to them for supporting us in defending claims.”

He also said the onus cannot always be on insurers or judges to fight suspected fraudulent claims, and called for questions to be asked about how certain dubious cases are allowed to proceed through the legal process; calling on legal and medical professionals to also “bear a responsibility”.

Peter Boland, director of the Alliance for Insurance Reform, urged other insurers to follow suit. “The reality is that many major insurers underwriting in Ireland do not have any meaningful fraud department, preferring instead to settle personal injury claims quickly, regardless of the justice of individual cases,” he said.

“They then pass the cost of such cases on to policyholders.”




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