Man Found Guilty of Committing Arson to Obtain Insurance Payout

Aviva Canada customer convicted of Arson and sentenced to jail term after setting fire to his house

Toronto, ON (Dec. 22, 2015) – The insurance industry continues to experience arson-for-profit schemes. These dangerous and fraudulent acts not only put the public and emergency responders at risk, but also represent a significant financial risk to insurance consumers. Aviva Canada Inc., one of the country’s leading providers of home, auto, leisure/lifestyle and business insurance, is committed to tracking and preventing fraudulent claims.

On the night of August 19, 2013, Mr. Donald Isley, of Fergus, ON reported he woke up to discover that a fire had broken out in his basement. Several bystanders noticed smoke billowing from the house and called 911. Later evidence concluded there were no working fire alarms in the home. During the inspection of the fire scene by the Ontario Fire Marshall and Aviva Canada’s concurrent investigation, evidence was discovered that indicated the fire had been deliberately set. As a result, Aviva Canada investigators and the Ontario Provincial Police conducted parallel investigations of this fire that caused $400,000 worth of damage to Mr. Isley’s home.

Aviva Canada’s investigation revealed that Mr. 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. Aviva Canada denied Mr. Isley’s claim, and his property policy was cancelled.

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

Mr. Isley was found guilty of committing Arson for Fraudulent Purposes. On December 18, Justice Casimir N. Herold sentenced Mr. Isley to 15 months in jail and two years probation.

Justice Herold denounced using Arson for Fraudulent Purposes as a means of escaping a financial predicament. He stated 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.

“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. “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.”

Aviva Canada has stepped up its tough approach to tackling fraud with more dedicated resources and a deeper investment in ‘state of the art’ fraud detection technology. This, combined with deep public sector and industry collaboration, positions Aviva to combat fraud better than ever before. The impact of insurance fraud in Canada is estimated at over $1.6 billion dollars annually.

What can you do to help protect affordable insurance premiums for all Canadians? Report potential fraud to Aviva Canada’s Fraud Information Centre, open 24/7. Email [email protected] or call their hotline at 1 855 332 5255.

About Aviva Canada

As one of Canada’s leading providers of property and casualty insurance, we protect homes, cars, recreational vehicles, groups and businesses. Our team of more than 3,000 employees serves 1,700 broker partners and three million customers.

We invest in positive change through the Aviva Community Fund, Canada’s longest running online community funding competition which has awarded $5.5 million to over 100 communities nationwide since 2009. Aviva Canada is proud to partner with the Canadian Red Cross’ Ready When the Time Comes program. Beyond financial support, Aviva’s employees and broker partners are trained and ready to respond in times of disaster.

For more information about Aviva Canada, visit

Source: Aviva Canada