Aviva Canada calls for new Ontario laws against auto insurance fraud

Published: December 7, 2018

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Aviva Canada, the country’s second biggest P&C insurance provider, wants Ontario to introduce laws prohibiting certain types of auto insurance fraud.

Ontario’s auto insurance market is beset by fraud, which costs the industry around $2 billion each year. Much of that loss is put back on customers in the form of increased premiums. Aviva Canada has been a leader in combatting auto insurance fraud in Ontario, but wants the province to be clearer about laws.

“As an industry we need a new set of provincial offences that will allow for the efficient and effective prosecution of fraud,” said Chris Lang, senior manager of fraud operations for Aviva Canada, in an interview.

One example of a defined law is the province making it an offence to knowingly make a false insurance claim. Of course, fraud is already a federal crime, but Aviva wants Ontario to toughen up on insurance fraud and make current non-criminal provincial offences crimes.

Such provincial offences should have “a burden of proof that is perhaps slightly lower or less sophisticated than the criminal burden of proof, which is quite high,” Lang told Canadian Underwriter this week. “The idea is really to call out those willful and intentional acts to deceive insurance companies to obtain a financial advantage – and in so doing, to financially disadvantage the broader pool of consumers out there.”

An example of minor non-criminal insurance fraud would be a vehicle owner purposely giving false address information in an attempt to receive a lower premium. Lang says insurers must collaborate to create more robust anti-fraud solutions and create new avenues for cooperability with the government and police.

“Currently, only a handful of fraud charges related to insurance are laid by the public authorities – like the police – each year and perhaps only a subset of those actually result in a criminal sentence. The police and crown attorneys simply don’t have the resources to attack fraud on top of all the other types of crime on their plates.”