First, Aviva demanded I send them my passport to prove my identity. I wasn't going to do that because I don't trust them or Canada Post not to lose it. As Norwich Union they had a track record of not replying to my correspondence, and on one occasion had only taken note of my change of address after I'd headed my fifth letter to them in 20 pt bold type: SOMEBODY PLEASE READ THIS.
I pointed out that they had already altered my other policy with them to my Canada address. They promptly, and annoyingly, changed the address on that policy back to my UK address, but said I could send them a copy of my passport authorised by a solicitor or banker instead of the original. For security and my own convenience, I decided to do that when I was next visiting the UK. Aviva's response was a pompous letter saying they might not be able to carry out important transactions on my account in the meantime. Since the only transaction I care about is adding some bonus to my pension fund, which Aviva haven't done for about 10 years now, I wasn't bothered.
This week I took my passport into Lewes only to discover that solicitors won't authorise documents any more unless you are already their client and banks won't do it at all. So, I will have to wait until I'm back in Canada and get my solicitor there to do it. Of course, if I weren't living in Canada, I'd have to send them my passport by post.
I can't see how having lots of people's passports and other identity documents being posted to banks and finance companies helps combat identity theft or money laundering. Given that it increases the chances of villains intercepting identity documents, I would have thought it achieves the exact opposite.