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Aviva Canada customer sentenced to 15 months in jail for setting fire to his house


December 22, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter


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Aviva Canada announced on Monday that a homeowner has been sentenced to 15 months in jail and two years of probation for deliberating setting fire to his house.

The fire caused an estimated $400,000 worth of damage to the houseThe fire caused an estimated $400,000 worth of damage to the house

Aviva Canada, a provider of home, auto, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance, said in a press release that Justice Casimir N. Herold of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice sentenced Isley on Friday. Isley was found guilty of committing arson for fraudulent purposes.

Denouncing using arson for fraudulent purposes as a means of escaping a financial predicament, Justice Herold said in the release that “this sentence is intended to deter other like-minded perpetrators and bring awareness to the risks that arsons pose to offenders, first responders and Good Samaritans.”

On the night of Aug. 19, 2013, Isley of Fergus, Ont. reported that he woke up to discover that a fire had broken out in his basement. During the inspection of the scene by the Ontario Fire Marshal and Aviva Canada’s concurrent investigation, evidence indicated that the fire had been deliberately set. Evidence also concluded there were no working fire alarms in the home, Aviva Canada said in the release.

The fire caused an estimated $400,000 worth of damage to the house.

Aviva Canada also noted in the release that Isley’s home had recently been put into foreclosure. “This, in addition to other evidence gathered during the investigation, supported the theory that Mr. Isley had financial motive to commit arson,” the insurer said, adding that they denied Isley’s claim and cancelled his property policy.

In civil proceedings, Aviva Canada’s counsel brought forward a motion to obtain possession of Isley’s property; the house will be sold to recuperate most of the $186,048.88 outstanding mortgage payment made by Aviva Canada to Isley’s mortgage company. This motion will be heard in early 2016, Aviva Canada reported.

“Deliberate damage to insured property in order to make a claim is a criminal offence; at Aviva Canada we take firm and decisive action against those who engage in insurance fraud, as soon as we become aware of it,” said Sarah Zimmerman, senior vice president, automobile & property claims at Aviva Canada, in the release. “We owe it to all honest policyholders to ensure the cost of insurance premiums is not negatively affected by the small minority that engage in fraud.”

The impact of insurance fraud in Canada is estimated at over $1.6 billion dollars annually. Fraud can be reported to Aviva Canada’s Fraud Information Centre, open 24/7, by email at anti-fraud_management@avivacanada.com or by phone at 1-855-332-5255.