Aviva boss calls data farming a ‘national disgrace’ 

Aviva boss Mark Wilson has called for urgent government action to crack down on data criminals luring staff into selling personal information of customers.

It comes as an ex-Aviva employee and his accomplice await sentencing for fraud.

Wilson said staff have been approached by claims management companies in pubs and car parks. Firms are prepared to pay big money for data and will often target lower paid workers.

Insurance staff are particularly vulnerable as they have access to large amounts of valuable data that can be quickly converted into sales leads for the claims management firms. 

At present, it is not illegal to buy personal information.

However, it is illegal for claims management firms to lure staff into committing data breaches in order to gain hold of customer data. 

In May, the City of London police revealed they had arrested three people over allegations that the personal details of customers of LV= insurance were sold for nearly £17,000.

Two of the people being probed were alleged to have bribed the former employee to hand over information. 

Wilson said: “This is a national scandal. The only way to fix this is with Government help. At the moment it is not illegal for firms to buy names and personal information – that’s a disgrace.”

Wilson’s comments are likely to stoke pressure on the government to tighten up the laws on selling personal information.

As far back as 2013, insurance directors were reporting the problems of staff being approached for data. 

Admiral fraud operations manager Susan Evans flagged up the issue at an Insurance Times Fraud Charter meeting two years ago, saying: “The selling of data alone is something I think the industry is failing to keep a handle on.

“In the past three months we have had about four instances where approaches have been made directly to staff, asking for Admiral data to be released to them – and those are the ones we know about.

“How on earth do we find out about the ones we don’t know about? The worrying thing is the unknown unknowns.”