Ontario will have new laws to combat and prohibit various forms of auto insurance fraud if a major insurer succeeds in convincing concerned offices that these are needed.
Insider Speaks Up
Aviva Canada’s senior manager of fraud operations Chris Lang says that there is a need for a more effective and efficient prosecution of auto insurance fraud in the provincial level. He says that those that knowingly present a false insurance claim should be charged with a provincial offence.
In Canada, fraud is classified as a federal offence but Aviva is opening the discussion for non-criminal provincial offences. These offences include workplace safety infractions, Highway Traffic Act violations, and discharging contaminants.
Most provincial offences in Ontario are either strict liability offences or absolute liability offences. This means that unlike a Criminal Code offence like assault or theft, the prosecutor does not have to prove in court that the accused person has a ‘guilty mind’ for strict liability or an absolute liability offence. More so, if charged with a “strict liability” offence, the accused person can defend herself or himself by providing that reasonable steps were taken to avoid the act.
Aviva is not pushing for auto fraud offences to be classified as absolute liability or strict liability offences, only that they’re pushing for a possibility that these new provincial offences may have a lower burden of proof than what is required for a burden of proof for criminal offences. According to Chris Lang, the idea is to call out those who intentionally and willfully commit fraudulent acts to gain financial advantage by deceiving companies. An example of this are people who file altered or forged documents for insurance claims either to file a false claim or file for a substantially larger claim. Another example is those that use fake information in their auto insurance application to get a lower premium, this fraud is under rate evasion.
Changes Are Truly Needed
Chris Lang adds that the Canadian insurance industry needs to work together and talk about solutions for addressing issues with fraud. He adds that in order to make meaningful changes, the auto insurance sector needs to work with front line consumers, the police, regulators, and the government, more so that by Aviva estimates, the Canadian auto insurance industry loses up to $2 billion a year to fraud.
Lang suggests that thinking the criminal justice system can adequately deal only a handful of auto insurance fraud cases make it to the reaches of public authorities and that an even smaller number results in a criminal sentence. The crown attorneys and the police simply don’t have the resources to contend with auto insurance fraud in light of everything else they are also handling.
74% or 3 out of 4 respondents in an Aviva poll said that they will support having a new set of provincial insurance fraud offences. The Pollara Strategic Insight survey involved 1,500 respondents from Ontario and was commissioned by Aviva in October 2018. The results have an accuracy rate of 19 out of 20.
Fighting fraud is made better by taking a proactive role against it. For more fraud prevention news, our private investigation blog is a great place to start. Contact us to dig up information against fraudsters or if you need help safeguarding yourself or your business against fraud.