The investigation established that, while working at the insurer, the trio had been approached individually by two brothers who offered to pay them in return for confidential information regarding customers who had been involved in collisions.
The information was leaked to Sajaad Nawaz, 36, from Brays Road, Birmingham, West Midlands, and Shaiad Nawaz, 34, from Eastcote Road, Acocks Green, Birmingham.
Slap on the wrist
The Allianz employees – Kayleigh Underhill, 26, of Laxton Grove, Solihull, West Midlands; Andrew Clarke, 24, of Elmbridge Drive, Solihull, West Midlands and Reace Bowen, 23, from Birmingham, West Midlands – all pleaded guilty in February and were sentenced on 7 April 2017 at Birmingham Crown Court.
They received the following sentences:
- Underhill was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, a rehabilitation order, and £1,050 compensation to be paid to Allianz;
- Clarke was sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, a community order, and £150 compensation to be paid to Allianz;
- Bowen was sentenced to eight months imprisonment suspended for 18 months, a community order, and £300 compensation to be paid to Allianz.
All three have also been ordered to pay £540 costs to the court.
The group’s criminal activity came to light when a report was made to Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime, on 10 November 2015, Ifed said in a statement.
The report was referred to the insurance fraud division, which used the information to identify the five offenders.
Sajaad Nawaz pleaded guilty at a mention hearing at Birmingham Crown Court last May and was sentenced on 22 August to four months imprisonment suspended for 15 months
His brother Shaiad Nawaz was sentenced to six months imprisonment suspended for 15 months and 20 days of rehabilitation activity on 23 August following a trial at Birmingham Crown Court.
Detectives were able to gather evidence to show that Underhill, Clarke and Bowen had regular contact with the brothers via WhatsApp.
While at work they would they would write customer data on their notepads, take photographs of this and then pass the information via WhatsApp to both Nawaz brothers, also discuss payment for this information in their chats.
Underhill, Bowen and Clarke received approximately £250 per week for the information and their engagement with the bribers. In total, the trio leaked over 700 pieces of customer data and made over £7000 by doing so, Ifed stated.
The customer data was then passed on to claims management companies, who cold called the customers and persuaded them to commence a personal injury claim.
In leaking customer data, the three Allianz staffers abused their position of trust and wrongly breached clients’ confidentiality, committing a criminal offence.
Any employee who is considering doing this “should think twice”, the lead investigator in the case said.
“Underhill, Clarke and Bowen were all in a position of trust and now have a criminal record and will be unable to work in a range of industries,” detective constable Daryl Fryatt commented.
“None of the offenders considered the consequences of selling this customer data and had no thought around the fact that people would end up receiving cold calls from claims management companies,” Fryatt added.
The result of Ifed’s investigation “should reinforce this message and help to deter anyone who is thinking of getting involved in making a quick buck.”
The City of London Police’s insurance fraud team worked closely with Allianz on the case, the insurer said.
“We are extremely disappointed by the actions of these three individuals and we have worked in close cooperation with Ifed during their investigations,” Graham Gibson, chief claims officer at Allianz Insurance, commented.
“Allianz has a zero tolerance to data theft which is not a victimless crime. This often leads to cold calling and pressure on our customers to pursue claims that lack validity and it must be stamped out.”