Aviva Canada is leading calls for vehicle owners to receive discounts when they agree to use a body shop accredited by insurance companies. The company wants the change after a successful undercover investigation caught repair shops deliberately causing damage to vehicles.
While Aviva is pushing for such a change, it would need to be implemented from a change in regulations. Under the current law in Ontario, auto insurance companies are not able to “give a discount in exchange for pre-agreement to go to an accredited body shop,” Gordon Rasbach, vice president of fraud management at Aviva Canada, said Monday.
Premium rate changes must be approved by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and must also work towards FSCO parameters for offering auto insurance discounts. Some criteria are constant, meaning insurance companies must assess coverage on location, age, marital status, vehicle use. Some assessment criteria are not allowed, so Aviva Canada would have to turn to the FSCO to make discount changes.
The company says the government should embrace such a discount to award drivers for using accredited body shops. Aviva’s investigation involved placing hidden cameras in select Toronto locations and simulating collisions. 10 damaged vehicles were taken to body shops for repairs and in nine of the situations fraud was observed with inaccurate invoices.
“We were going to go longer with the investigation and stopped it,” Rasbach said. “It just got to a point where every car was coming back with fraud.”
Aviva says some of the invoices revealed billing for new parts that were either not installed or were unneeded. The company points out the one car that was not fraudulent happened to have been repaired by an Aviva accredited shop.