Business

Aviva admits second theft of customer accident details

Aviva Image copyright AFP

Aviva has been writing to thousands of motorists for the second time in two years after concerns that employees sold details of people who had recently had accidents to claims companies.

Customers say they have since received up to ten calls a day to persuade them to make personal injury claims.

An employee has been dismissed, and the police and Financial Conduct Authority have been informed.

The company has apologised to customers.

Nuisance calls

The data theft is believed to involve customers insured with Aviva who had car accidents in 2013 and 2014.

Eleanor from West Lothian was one. In late 2013 her empty car was hit by another driver, who left his insurance details on the vehicle.

The claim was settled through Aviva. Shortly afterwards, the harassment from claims firms began.

"I started getting calls on my mobile and my landline constantly, sometimes up to ten a day. Ambulance chasers, wanting to know if i wanted to put in a personal injury claim," she said.

The firms had some information but not everything pertaining to the claim: "They knew the day of the accident but they didn't know that it wasn't a car crash. And it went on and on for so long."

Andrea from Leeds received similar calls after claiming through Aviva in the autumn of 2013, after her stationary car was hit by the door of a vehicle parked alongside.

"I asked them where they got this information from and they put the phone down on me. So I made a complaint to Aviva. I was told it was nothing to do with them, it'll be something to do with the hire company giving all my details out."

Letter admission

Andrea has continued to receive those calls up to and including this week.

The only way Eleanor was able to stop them was to change both her landline and mobile number.

It was only after some 18 months of harassment for both women that the cause was revealed to them in a letter sent to them - and thousands of other customers - by Aviva.

It read: "I am writing to make you aware that Aviva has identified that information about a motor claim which you were involved in may have been accessed and passed to a third party without Aviva's consent. We have dismissed the employee concerned and reported this to the police and the Financial Conduct Authority."

The wording of the letter is almost exactly the same as ones sent out by Aviva two years ago to tens of thousands of customers whose accident details were stolen and sold on.

Eleanor, from West Lothian, says Aviva has many questions to answer: " I think it's scandalous that not only has it happened once, but a second time."

Investigations continue

Aviva agreed to pay Eleanor £25 towards the cost of changing her landline number.

Aviva said: "We identified this towards the end of 2014. We began an internal investigation, identified the now former employee who accessed these accident details, dismissed the employee and wrote to the customers who may have had their accident details passed on to a third party by this employee.

We also informed the Information Commissioner, The Financial Conduct Authority and Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department, who have launched a criminal investigation. No sensitive personal information, for example financial or medical, was accessed or disclosed."

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