Two former members of staff have been released on bail

Two ex-Aviva workers have been arrested on suspicion of fraud after information about claims and car details was stolen and may have been passed to claims management companies.

Aviva passed the information to the Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) at the City of London Police, the FCA and the Information Commissioner’s Office, when it became suspicious.

Since it discovered the breach late last year, Aviva has written to thousands of customers who have made a motor claim and some third parties who had an accident involving an Aviva customer.

It said in the letter: “We have identified incidents where information regarding your claim may have been accessed and disclosed to a third party without our consent.

“Aviva takes these matters very seriously and the issues we have identified have been reported to the police, the Financial Conduct Authority and the Information Commissioner, with a view to prosecution.”

Aviva suspects the number of people affected is more likely to be hundreds rather than thousands. Only 1% of people who have contacted Aviva as a result of the letter said they had been contacted by third parties.

“We are sorry this has happened. This was illegal activity. We identified it and immediately reported it to the police and the relevant financial authorities and we are contacting affected customers. We fully support any prosecution,” Aviva said.

An IFED spokeswoman said: “The IFED is investigating two separate reports of theft of information following two referrals from Aviva.

“A 35-year-old man from London has been arrested on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position. He has been released on bail.

“A 27-year-old man from Manchester has been arrested on suspicion of fraud by abuse of position. He has been released on bail.”

The investigations are ongoing.

Aviva added: “It is sadly the case that financial services are being targeted by unscrupulous claims management companies that are very keen to acquire customer contact details so they can encourage compensation claims – for which they expect a percentage of any damages. Aviva has long called for stricter regulation of these firms and prosecution for any unlawful activity.”