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A man has been sentenced for making a £50,000 Income Protection claim whilst working three paid jobs, following an investigation by the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED).
Adam Reason, 40, of The Corners, Thornton-Cleveleys, Lancashire, exaggerated an inability to work in order to scam his insurer out of £2,000 a month through an Income Protection Policy. This type of policy is intended to support individuals in the event that they cannot work due to injury or illness. Had Reason been successful in continuing his claims until the expiration of his policy, he could have incurred a potential loss of £648,000 on Aviva.
On Monday 15 February 2021 at Preston Crown Court, Reason was sentenced to eighteen months imprisonment suspended for two years, 150 hours unpaid work and a five day rehabilitation activity requirement for one count of Fraud by False Representation.
Detective Constable James Rafiq, who led the investigation for the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED), said:
“Whilst Reason claims to have found himself in a difficult position in which he was no longer able to cope with the pressure of his job, he should still have pursued other forms of employment legitimately. Instead, Reason exaggerated his inability to work to fraudulently claim tens of thousands of pounds from his insurer whilst juggling three other forms of paid work. Unfortunately, it is fraudulent cases like this which undermine the serious nature of genuine health issues and subsequent protection policy claims.
“Reason has been rightfully punished for his crimes and we are now seeking to retrieve the funds he stole through the Proceeds of Crime Act so that we can reimburse his insurer.”
In November 2016, Reason contacted Aviva to claim on his policy, citing that he was unable to work his job as an estate agent due to illness, and confirming that he was not in receipt of any other form of income.
The insurer arranged for Reason to undertake a medical assessment, in which he explained the impact of his condition, alleging an inability to perform simple tasks, such as driving more than a short distance.
From 2017 to 2019, Reason received a monthly payment of £2,000 from the insurer. Over the course of the two years, he was required to complete regular reviews which confirmed that he had not been working and had not received any benefits that Aviva was not aware of.
During this time, the insurer carried out background checks which quickly revealed that Reason – who was receiving regular benefit payments - was operating not just one paid business, but three, in and around Lancashire.
The information gathered during these investigations indicated that Reason had been travelling to work as a freelance photographer, providing services for commercial properties and weddings. Aviva established that Reason was not affected in the way he had described during his assessment, having travelled 275 miles in one day for a photography job.
It was also discovered that Reason was being paid for providing guitar lessons and for his involvement as a lead guitarist in a music group.
Aviva cancelled Reason’s policy and referred the case to IFED, who commenced investigations in May 2019.
Upon searching Reason’s home, IFED investigators found items which proved Aviva’s suspicions, linking the fraudster with all three businesses. A key piece of evidence was Reason’s mobile phone, which held a number of calendar entries for guitar lessons, photography work and gigs throughout the period in which he was claiming from his insurer.
An investigation into the claimant’s finances established that Reason had been in receipt of payment for the three businesses, with bank statements showing a total of almost £25,000 earned during the claims period. Reason later admitted when questioned that he was also earning around £100 for each gig played with the band, leading IFED investigators to estimate that he is likely to have received another £4,000 income from this.
Jacqueline Kerwood, Claims Governance Manager for Individual Protection at Aviva, said:
“We are satisfied with today’s sentencing, which highlights the serious consequences of Mr Reason’s deception, in attempting to falsely claim £50,000 through an Income Protection Policy. It was shocking to discover that Mr Reason was continuing to work, and not just one paid employment, but three. Our investigation and referral to IFED brought an end to this scam.
“The outcome of today’s sentencing clearly demonstrates that insurance fraud is a crime and if you commit insurance fraud, it is very likely you will be caught and prosecuted – as Mr Reason has learned the hard way.
“Aviva has a zero-tolerance approach to fraud and will investigate and bring to justice those who attempt to defraud Aviva and our customers. These bogus claims put pressure on premiums for honest customers who rely on the safety net that protection policies provide.”