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Sunday 15 September 2019

€80 damage to car led to €215,000 payout, says Aviva as it ramps up fraud inquiries

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Gordon Deegan

Aviva Insurance's ten-fold increase in the number of investigators of suspected fraud it employs has contributed to the insurer winning 80pc of personal injury claims it has defended in the courts this year.

That is according to investigations manager with Aviva Robert Smyth, who said: "It is very evident that in most cases, the courts will dismiss claims when the evidence is there to support a dismissal."

Over the past four years, Mr Smyth has overseen the expansion of Aviva's investigation unit, with 30 officers now investigating suspected fraud, compared with three in 2015.

Attributing the 80pc success rate to Aviva investing resources in investigations, Mr Smyth said: "Along with boots on the ground, we have also invested in data analytics."

However, Mr Smyth quoted one case which involved €80 damage to a car resulting in Aviva paying out just under €215,000 in personal injury awards and costs "as a reason why insurance companies settle claims, rather than risking significant losses".

In the incident, Aviva's insured driver tipped into 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 other claimant from the car received €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 that there was "minimal damage" done to the car owned by the other driver.

Mr Smyth said that total costs to Aviva from the case were just under €215,000. He said the case "is an example of how our compensation culture racks up some very high costs".

In a separate case, Mr Smyth welcomed the dismissal of an appeal to the High Court by Ann Marie Mongans (39) of Clancy Park, Ennis, against the scale of an award she received in the circuit court.

The €5,000 Ms Mongans received at Ennis Circuit Court in 2017 was the seventh award she had received, bringing to €110,000 the total received in all of her claims.

The appeal was dismissed at the High Court sitting in Ennis after Ms Mongans failed to show. Mr Smyth confirmed Aviva has paid its own legal costs of €20,000 in the case.

The May 2012 accident was the seventh accident where Ms Mongans has received compensation in a claim history spanning 29 years.

:: Aged seven in 1988, Ms Mongans received €13,970 in compensation after being knocked down;

:: 1998 - Ms Mongans was awarded €9,000 as a result of a road traffic accident;

:: 1999 - Ms Mongans received compensation of €7,000 from a road accident at Clarecastle Rd, Ennis;

:: 2004 - Ms Mongans received €11,000 from a road accident at Market Street in Ennis;

:: 2006 - Ms Mongans received €55,000 as a result of breaking her pelvis and suffering back injuries in a road accident on Ennis's Quin Rd;

:: 2011 - Ms Mongans received €10,000 from a road traffic accident near O'Connell Street in Limerick.

Irish Independent

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