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Aviva ignored signs of financial abuse by sibling and supported by FOS

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I have no idea what happens to be honest I believe if I accept then it legally binds me to Aviva if I reject im back to square 1.. it was originally given to an investigator who said Aviva had followed procedures and it was a domestic issue so I asked for it to be escalated to someone higher 

So this decision has come from someone higher I guess 

I requested my statutory credit report last week received the passkey yesterday when I downloaded the report there are further loans that have been taken out but are settled from 2015-2018 and 8-10 searches with insurance companies on the 7th April hes also then gone onto to take a credit card with new day cards Ltd on my husbands name this has also come up on the search 


I've never received any letters from these companies either the lady at experian said even if they are settled the person whose done the fraud has managed the accounts well so the ombudsmans decision kind of falls flat on its face as I've got no awareness of these companies that have come up on my report 

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@BankFodder yes I did I sent it separate I spike to the officer yesterday too she said she was going to speak to the economic commissioner and shes going through all the evidence and once her sergeant

Given delays in responding to the SAR,  maybe suggest to the FOS that they need to set a new date to reject the decision.  Perhaps they should add 3 weeks.

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I think you also said that your brother's name was on an insurance fraud database. What details about that please? Have you any idea what date his name was entered on that register?

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I have no idea but I informed the insurance company on the 21st November 2019 

The ombudsman has seen all this documentation I gave the crime reference numbers action fraud numbers all the letters I received the different insurance companies 

What my concern is that hes had a claim ont he policy and they've happily registered the claim paid out but not once spoke to me and then there's been a policy investigation done a letter was sent to me apparently and I sent the documents in 

From my credit report clearly he has my ID for him to take loans out  and do insurance searches they've not received any of the information via my email so how can they assume I've given him that information 

Edited by Titchytitch
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Sorry I don't understand. Where did you get the information that your brother was on the fraud database? When did you get this information?


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Also, please can you telephone the FOS today and asked them about the status of this decision/letter which you have received. Are there any opportunities for further representations? What happens if you decline? What happens if you accept?

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On the 21st of November quote me happy insurance sent me a letter saying the policy and been cancelled to inception date due to identity fraud which means the contract is deemed to have never existed please see the letter 


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Thank you.

As you know, I've started getting involved in this thread partway through – so I'm trying to understand it all – and it's pretty complicated.

I had understood that your brother's name was on an insurance fraud database – but that doesn't seem to be the case now. Please can you clarify.

If it is on insurance for database then was this before or after he purchased this Aviva insurance?

I have to say that overall it's a shame that you didn't refer to this as a domestic/financial abuse problem at the outset because this might have changed people's way of looking at it. Of course you weren't to know.
However, companies nowadays are so worried about not adopting/complying with the current move in safeguarding culture, that if this had been identified as a domestic abuse issue, I think they would have handled it differently. Not because they are particularly interested and concerned about domestic abuse. Frankly I don't think they care – but they are worried about their own risk reputationally.

The Aviva website makes a big thing about safeguarding and financial abuse – and they even say that they have communications with SEA – Surviving Economic Abuse - - https://survivingeconomicabuse.org/ which is a relatively recent organisation which tries to get business organisations to adopt safeguarding policies and to implement safeguarding training so that they can recognise and protect the victims of domestic abuse – particularly financial/economic abuse.

Aviva make a thing about their role in protecting people from financial abuse and they even dedicate a webpage to it https://www.aviva.co.uk/aviva-edit/your-life-articles/financial-abuse/ although of course, webpages come very cheap.

Interestingly, Aviva say that they are:



We’re trained to spot the signs 

Aviva and the Aviva Foundation have been working closely with SEA and SafeLives to train staff on recognising the warning signs that anyone — customers or not — might display. 

Group Corporate Responsibility Manager Simone Wyatt says: “We’ve made training available to our front line staff, as well as to our wider colleagues, so that they’re equipped to recognise the common signs of financial abuse, such as people calling in to cash in pensions earlier than they should. These have intensified with the stresses and pressures of Covid, and that’s why we’re partnering with SEA.

“By recognising the impact of financial abuse, we can help to look after people and signpost them to expert help. At Aviva, our customers are more than just policyholders — we’re here to help.”


Of course it's a load of nonsense and not only that, if you asked Aviva to disclose their safeguarding/financial abuse policy and also to give you access to their training materials, they would decline on spurious grounds.

Similarly, the Financial Ombudsman Service has had discussions over the past three or four years with SEA although I'm not sure if they have adopted any policies in terms of trying to spot signs of domestic abuse in the complaints that people bring to them. I suspect that they would rather not get involved and anyway, if you go to the FOS website, and if you search for financial abuse or economic abuse – or even abuse – there is nothing.
From the look of the ombudsman's decision, they basically seem to say that as long as Aviva has a "process" – any old "process" then that is fine with the FOS as long as Aviva then sticks to that "process".  The FOS makes it pretty clear that as long as Aviva have stuck to their "process" then their customers been treated fairly – regardless of the fairness or otherwise of the "process".

The ombudsman then goes on to make a little gesture of having exercised its own independent judgement by pointing out that the policy has been in force for some time and that there has even been a payment against it.
Apparently this makes everything fair and above board – bless!.

This is all despite the fact that Aviva – and the ombudsman recognise that the circumstances which led to the taking out of the policy were that Aviva were telephoned by a strange man who said that he wanted to take out an insurance policy in the name of a woman with a different name who lived at a different address to him – even though they were apparently married couple – and that the woman in whose name he was taking out the policy would be the policyholder (the contracting partner) and he would simply be a named driver but that the money will be coming out of his own bank account.

Clearly the contract was intended to be made with the policyholder – the woman who was the main driver – and clearly what was happening here was that the brother was taking out an insurance policy in which secretly he would be the main driver – and which is otherwise known as "fronting" and which is forbidden by the insurance industry and forms very reasonable grounds for terminating the policy.

The Aviva "trained" employee who took the call and organised the contract, heard all of this – and apparently even tried to get to speak to the woman – the policyholder – and was rebuffed so much so that it was even remarked by the ombudsman that it was clear that the brother was "reluctant" to allow the woman – who he claimed was his wife – to talk to the call handler. The ombudsman even comments that it was clear that the man, who was presenting himself as the husband of the woman – was "controlling" the policy (do we see controlling behaviour here?) – And yet the call handler went ahead and allowed the insurance contract to be formed and the policy to be issued in the name of the unknown, unseen, wife that no one was allowed to speak to.

I don't know what it takes to make it dawn on a trained call handler that they are dealing with the situation where there are all the hallmarks of domestic abuse. I don't know what it takes to make it dawn on an FOS investigator – and also the ombudsman themselves that they are dealing with the situation which has all the hallmarks of domestic abuse……!

I feel pieces of sick rising in the back of my throat.


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You've hit the nail perfectly on the head there! The call handler mentioned his details were placed on the fraud database on the call I had when they cancelled the policy which was 21st Nov 2019 and my brother has also confirmed to extended family members that he has a default and has been placed on the insurance fraud database  

He then out of spite decided to reverse all his direct debit chargebacks and I received the first default notice in jan 2020 and the money was happily refunded without being challenged 

I wish I had known about the domestic and financial abuse I did tell them I had no idea and he had controlling behaviour and anger issues and I'm not on talking terms with him I only knew he was the perpetrator behind the policy as they confirmed he was a named driver on the policy 


I've had panic attacks and sleepless night since last January so what is the best approach would you say to dela with this as @unclebulgaria67has suggested I reject the ombudsmans decision and complete a SRA 

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  • BankFodder changed the title to Aviva ignored signs of financial abuse by sibling and supported by FOS

I agree with my site team colleague that you should reject the ombudsman's decision. You have nothing to lose.

I'm not sure what an SRA is in this context.

Also, I'm afraid that generally speaking the way that this story has been told on this thread is very patchy and also I have a sense that it's not complete.

I think it would be very useful almost to start from zero and to lay out everything which happened in a careful bullet pointed chronology.

Maybe would be better for you to prepare this account off-line and when you think that it's all complete and logical and understandable, you could then copy into a post.

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The site member was referring to a subject access request  theninformayion is all on the thread I think its coming as patchy as I'm answering questions raised by the site members I will try to make some time to put everything in chronological order x

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Okay. You meant SAR – not SRA.

I think that when you decline the ombudsman's decision, that you should send a letter which at least they will have on file which will object to the decision and at least your objections will go into their file.

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Also, I think you should certainly start sending SARs out to a number of people.

Send one to Aviva
send one to the FOS

also are we able to identify anybody else's got any records of attempts apparently by you to ask for credit or asked for insurance et cetera?
In addition to identifying those in your chronology, maybe you could list out any of them that you are aware of now – and sent them SARs.

Of course what would be very funny would be if you sent an SAR to Aviva and they declined to provide you with the data on the basis that you are not the data subject.

I think we need to do a lot of information gathering – and incidentally, if you want to challenge this then I think you are going to have to end up going to court.

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Yes that's right sorry my fault re the SAR would you suggest I request the SAR now and wait till just before 11th May to reject so I can make an informed decision regarding which route I should then take with Aviva and int he meant time I will get a chronological order of events sent across to you or I can attach to this feed 

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The SARs will take 30 days so you won't have the disclosures in time for your rejection of the ombudsman's decision.
Send the SARs as soon as possible.

Of course, the data protection legislation provides that 30 days is the maximum time limit – but in practice this is abused and organisations wait until the 30 days are pretty well up and then they provide the data.


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I havent taken any credit out in years other than a mortgage I took out in 2015 


But the credit report that I downloaded had loads of companies that I don't have a clue never heard of them about and are sat on my credit report and the recent searches are 8-10 insurance company searches 


I have disputed these entries with experian 

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I know it's a nuisance – but send an SAR to each one of them.

We have our SAR template – use that.

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Please could you post up here a copy of the complaint that you made to the financial ombudsman.
Also, the financial ombudsman's decision goes into some detail as to the conduct of the insurance contract after its inception.
In other words, there are lots of references to correspondence which was apparently sent to you and which they say you must have received and you must have been aware of et cetera.

I don't want to ask you specifics about that at the moment – but what I would like to know is – were you ever asked about this and did you ever make any written statements about this correspondence or is the ombudsman's decision based entirely on evidence received from Aviva?

In other words have you been given an opportunity to tell your side of the story relating to the correspondence – and has the ombudsman arrived at their decision based on the versions from both sides

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I rang the ombudsman service and they asked me questions and said they had all the information they needed and then allocated an investigator who was emailing or calling me to get evidence together 

I gave evidence of what I had received to the ombudsman but the decision seems like its based on Aviva I havent confirmed anything and the ombudsman who dealt with the final response never spoke to me to understand my side she asked for bits of information from the original investigator they put it down to domestic issue but im liable to make the payments 

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How many phone calls were there?

I need you specifically to tell me whether they receive the information about all the correspondence relating to defaults et cetera from you or whether this came simply from Aviva – and if it came simply from Aviva, do they ever come back to you then and put these matters to you.

Hopefully when you supply the SAR to the ombudsman, you will get hold of copies of telephone recordings.

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This matter has been ongoing since I'd say around March last year I'd say they've only spoken to me probably 6 times of that 

They advised me of supposedly 12 letters coming out to me ive received maybe 5/6 but only default letters nothing relating to the policy no policy documents no renewals im not sure of these were system generated and went to the mailbox 

Because everytime I got a default letter it would stress me out and I'd be on the phone to them and they'd apologise saying there's no online portal so the system is generating these to your home address so it makes me wonder while the online portal was live whether they went straight to portal 

The information regarding correspondence has come from Aviva not myself  

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Okay well make sure that you send the SAR to the FOS – and also to Aviva – today.

Get the rest going over the next few days

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Tell you now where I think this is going.

You are going to decline the ombudsman decision. We will send them a letter outlining your objections – although all they will do would be to put it on file.

We would then investigate the possibility of suing Aviva under ICOBS and you will need to start reading that an understanding it if we are going to go ahead. Basically the idea is that as an insurance company they have a statutory duty to treat you fairly and I think we have a very reasonable case to suggest that they are not treating you fairly.

I would propose suing them for a modest amount – simply to get into court and to force them to disclose any documents which they haven't disclosed under an SAR but also to start deciding whether they are going to accept that yes maybe they got it wrong, or whether they think they are going to defend it.
You will have to decide whether you are prepared to take a small claim on this basis and I can assure you that if they decide to defend it, it will get quite exciting because they will fight tooth and nail because a judgement for this kind of statutory breach of duty is a serious matter for them.

I think before we launched into litigation, we would try to open up the issue with them again but this time on the issue of domestic abuse – which is what I think should have happened first of all. They might say that it's already done and dusted. We might then try to move it up to the ombudsman – but the ombudsman might also say that this is an issue which has been done and dusted and cannot be revisited.
In that case, we would have to decide whether or not to litigate.

If you did litigate and they put their hands up, then as a condition of withdrawing the action we would require them to undo all this damage that they've done to your credit files et cetera. If they decided to defend then you would have to decide whether or not to go to a hearing and to try to get a judge to award you judgement and a modest compensation on the basis that the insurer had treated you unfairly.

That's the general idea. Of course things can change very quickly – but that's the theory, anyway.


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