"It's not me, it's my twin!" claims insurance fraudster
Market Insight 13 October 2023 13 October 2023
A Hampshire man seeking compensation for alleged injuries to his neck and arm attempted to claim that videos of him taking part in martial arts training during his recovery period actually showed his twin brother.
Robert Wood, 42, of Eastleigh, Hampshire, said he was unable to work after a minor car collision. However, when confronted with social media footage of him performing high kicks and swinging from bars while allegedly injured and unable to work, Wood denied the videos were of himself, and instead showed his twin brother, Andrew.
However, our investigations, working on behalf of insurer Aviva, found that Mr Wood’s twin had distinctive blonde highlights in his hair, while Mr Wood’s hair was brown. In response, Mr Wood said he would provide corroborating evidence from his brother, but no evidence was received. This led to the dismissal of Mr Wood’s claim worth £43,000 and him agreeing to pay £13,000 in costs.
Mr Wood’s deception began in March 2018 when he was involved in motor accident at Town Quay in Southampton while unloading his vehicle. Mr Wood claimed he had been struck on the arm by a taxi injuring him and causing him financial loss and damage. He saidhis neck was injured for three weeks while his right wrist remained injured for approaching three years.
Aviva, whose policyholder was the taxi firm, referred the case to its fraud team because of discrepancies in accounts and the apparent severity of Mr Wood’s injuries after a minor incident. The insurer instructed Clyde & Co to investigate the case resulting in the discovery of the social media footage taken during the period when Mr Wood claimed he was injured.
The videos showed Mr Wood performing martial arts kicks and punches and swinging by his arms from a climbing frame.
Protecting customers from inflated costs
Prior to the final hearing of the case, Mr Wood dropped his claim, but Aviva did not wish for him to walk away and ultimately he agreed to an order that he was fundamentally dishonest and would pay Aviva £13,000 in costs.
Elinor Willis, Legal Director at Clyde & Co, said: “Mr Wood’s attempt to defraud Aviva wasted the court’s valuable time and left him £13,000 worse off. It’s a hard way to learn the lesson that this type of insurance fraud will not be tolerated. Claimants like Mr Wood may think they’re onto a winner but we put suspicious claims like these under a microscope.”
Pete Ward, Head of Fraud, Aviva, said: “We are passionate about defending spurious injury claims, in order to protect our customers from inflated costs. This case is a terrific example of Aviva’s robust approach to detecting fraud – specifically, the result of great detective work by our dedicated Casualty and Bodily Injury team, supported by our legal panel, delivering a great outcome for our customers.”