When insurance fraud occurs, we all pay!

Aviva Canada's commitment to fighting fraud displayed in three recent cases

TORONTO, Sept. 11, 2015 /CNW/ - The Greater Toronto Area (GTA) continues to be the epicentre of insurance fraud, which contributes to higher insurance premiums for Ontarians. Aviva Canada Inc., one of the country's leading providers of home, auto, recreational vehicle, group and business insurance, today announced three separate cases of the company's commitment to fighting fraud in the GTA.

Insurance fraud is not a victimless crime. The cost to Canadians is estimated to be several billion dollars a year in insurance premium, healthcare, emergency service and court costs. Insurance fraudsters take money from everyone - when they cheat, everyone pays. Fighting fraud also takes time. The cases outlined below demonstrate the wide range of insurance fraud impacting Ontarians, and the time and resources Aviva Canada continues to invest to protect our policyholders and the public.

Suspension of a chiropractor's license
In 2012, Aviva Canada began an investigation into one of its service providers, Dr. Kevin Bar, a licensed practitioner of chiropractic medicine.

  • Following the investigation, Aviva Canada alleged that Dr. Bar was complicit in, or directly responsible for, the submission of insurance documents following a staged motor vehicle accident.  
  • Aviva Canada further alleged that Dr. Bar failed to maintain clinical notes and records for treatments he claimed to have provided.
  • The College of Chiropractors of Ontario (CCO) also investigated the matter and suspended Dr. Bar's license for nine months.

"We are pleased with this landmark outcome for Aviva Canada and indeed the Canadian property and casualty insurance industry as a whole," said Irene Bianchi, Executive Vice President, National Claims for Aviva Canada.

While the CCO ruling was an important one, Aviva Canada will also be seeking regulatory action by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario and requesting a criminal investigation by local authorities.

Auto body shop owner charged
Bill's Midway Auto Body is an automobile collision repair facility located in Toronto's east end. In September of 2014, owner Peter Panagopoulos filed a claim with Aviva Canada for parts allegedly stolen from a vehicle insured under his business.

  • Aviva Canada investigated the claim and noticed inconsistencies in the invoices submitted by Mr. Panagopoulos.
  • Aviva Canada questioned the inconsistencies and alleged that the auto parts were never stolen and that Mr. Panagopoulos reported a fraudulent claim, hoping to be paid a cash settlement.
  • The Toronto Police Service charged Peter Panagopoulos with Fraud Over $5,000, Uttering Forged Documents and Public Mischief.
  • The accused is scheduled to appear in court on September 11, 2015.

An unlicensed intermediary arrested
In 2014, Aviva Canada received information alleging that Chad Wayne Sweet, an individual unlicensed and unauthorized to sell insurance, had allegedly lured and counseled policyholders to commit fraud, by using false information in order to obtain cheaper automobile insurance premiums.

  • Mr. Sweet allegedly received compensation from the policyholders by charging a fee to set up the policies with various companies, including Aviva Canada.
  • Aviva Canada investigated this case for close to a year, and alleged that Mr. Sweet impersonated a policyholder when setting up the policies.
  • The total cost of the premium difference for the policies affected by his alleged actions is $5,697.
  • The Toronto Police are continuing to investigate other potential leads. To date they have charged Chad Wayne Sweet with six counts of Fraud Under $5,000 and five counts of Possession of Proceeds of Property Obtained By Crime.
  • The accused is set to appear in court on October 6, 2015.

"The implications of setting up policies with incorrect information are that the insured persons – whether they are willing co-conspirators or innocent victims – are not covered under a legitimate policy and may be personally liable for damage and injuries arising from their claims. This can leave them out of pocket thousands of dollars," said Irene Bianchi, Executive Vice President, National Claims for Aviva Canada.

What Aviva Canada is doing to fight fraud
Aviva Canada is committed to preventing, identifying, investigating and deterring the activities of insurance fraudsters. Building on already strong capabilities, Aviva Canada has stepped up its tough approach to tackling fraud with more dedicated resources and an investment in technology that aims to identify fraud and even anticipate the potential for fraud before it happens. With an industry-leading anti-fraud team, plus solid public sector and industry collaboration, Aviva Canada is well positioned to combat fraud better than ever before.  The impact of auto Insurance fraud in Canada is estimated at over $1.6 billion dollars annually. Visit https://www.avivacanada.com/fraud-prevention to learn more about our anti-fraud initiatives and how you can protect yourself from becoming a victim of fraud.

Help protect affordable insurance premiums for all Canadians by reporting potential fraud to Aviva Canada's Fraud Information Centre — open 24/7. Email anti-fraud_management@avivacanada.com or call 1-855-332-5255.

About Aviva Canada
Aviva Canada is one of the leading property and casualty insurance groups in Canada providing home, auto and business insurance to more than three million customers. The company is a wholly-owned subsidiary of UK-based Aviva plc and has more than 3,000 employees, 25 locations and 1,700 independent broker partners. Aviva Canada invests in positive change through the Aviva Community Fund, Canada's longest running online community funding competition. Since its inception in 2009, the Aviva Community Fund has awarded $5.5 million to over 100 communities nationwide.

For more information about Aviva Canada, visit AvivaCanada.com, our blog or our Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn pages.

SOURCE Aviva Canada Inc.

For further information: Media Contact: Liz Wood, Government Relations and Communications Specialist, Aviva Canada Inc., Desk: (416)288-5091, Mobile: (437) 346-1924, liz_wood@avivacanada.com

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