In the modern age of technology, personal data is being passed around like a hot plate. Some information can be very valuable – like the information of someone who has been the victim of a car crash, and is entitled to compensation; and entitled to have a legal representative who can recover fees.
Our firm is proud to have NEVER paid referral fees or money to claims management companies or insurers for work, even before they were banned in April 2013, and now the rules have changed and banned the payment of referral fees, a black market has developed in its place.
An ex-employee of LV=, Aisha Elliot, was bribed by Stephen Oates and another employee who, at that time, worked for a claims management company. There were full investigations into the suspected confidential data breach by the former LV= employee, where details were being passed from the insurer to the claims farmers.
This is reportedly the first time that the City of London Police’s Insurance Fraud Enforcement Department (IFED) has charged an individual, let alone three people, for offences under the Bribery Act.
The City of London has arrested three people who allegedly bribed / accepted the bribe of handing over LV= customer’s personal data, worth a staggering £17,000 according to BBC News sources. The IFED took action after there were allegations that an employee was bribed to pass over 50 third party road traffic collision details from January to December 2014 to the insurance company. The claims management company employees were arrested on suspicion of bribery and money laundering, while the former LV= employee was arrested on suspicion of fraud and abuse of position.
The latest arrests show that claims management companies are hungry for customer’s personal details that allow them to make financial gains by taking a massive cut out of their claim; especially now they cant’t take money the legal way. It’s reported that claim victims were awarded 40% less than what they were entitled to when claiming through a claims management company. This money making scheme is thought to be worth millions of pounds with fees charged at expensive rates.
A criminal offence
Since April 2013, the payment of referral fees between insurance companies, claims management companies, and lawyers were made illegal. Anyone who does so can be liable for criminal prosecution. However, it does not stop some individuals, as seen in this case here. The Information Commissioner’s Office reports that there is still a “lucrative trade” in personal data. This case is an example of that, as employees find bribery to be the ‘quickest and fastest’ way to make money.
The City of London Police Detective Constable, Kate Sibley, reinforced the fact that “illegally buying or selling an insurer’s confidential customer information is a criminal offence” (source). By selling the information onto the claims management company, Elliot breached the customers’ confidentiality. The right for your personal data to be protected is enshrined in the Data Protection Act. Any personal details held by the company should then be handled confidentially, and most certainly should not be sold onto another company.
Data protection is something highly regarded and integral in our daily lives. The fact that IFED has arrested individuals and brought them to the courts shows a willingness to defend these rights and take data protection and bribery seriously.
If you have been affected by any data protection breaches, please speak with the Data Breach Lawyers to learn more about your rights to compensation.
IMPORTANT: advice on this page is intended to be up-to-date for the 'first published date'.
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