One of the UK's leading car insurers was today accused of making 'misleading and questionable' statements about fraud after announcing results that its chief executive described as 'the best in nine years'.
Despite only 3 months ago complaining of being hit by a 'burgeoning' fraud 'pandemic' in motor insurance, AVIVA chief executive Mark Wilson has announced that in 2015 the group enjoyed a 20% rise in operating profits to £2.7billion with UK motor and property insurance contributing £368million.
In its stock market announcement AVIVA said its UK profit had been affected by the floods and a £45million reduction in investment income but made no mention anywhere of fraud being an issue – which if it were a 'material' risk it would be legally required to do.
"AVIVA is ramping up the rhetoric about fraud on public platforms but saying nothing about it to its investors," said Tom Jones, head of policy at Thompsons Solicitors, which is known for its stance of refusing to act for insurers and only representing the injured.
"Their statements are inconsistent and misleading. If there really was a problem with fraud, let alone a fraud 'pandemic' or a 'burgeoning' problem as Mark Wilson described the issue in December, then details should have been disclosed to shareholders and investors. The 2015 annual report has no word on fraud as an issue.
"If, as has been claimed by AVIVA and by the government, fraud is costing car insurers £1 billion annually you would expect that to be a material risk AVIVA is legally required to disclose to shareholders, the stock market and regulators.
"The government is intent on changing the law so injured people are left taking on insurers without legal help. In the absence of any reference to fraud in these results you have to ask if all the public hype is being cynically choreographed to provide cover for dramatic changes that will favour only insurers."