Cost of motor insurance: follow up - Transport Committee Contents

3  Other issues

23.  In this chapter we briefly cover developments in respect of some of the other issues raised in our earlier report.


24.  During our previous inquiry we were made aware of preliminary discussions about establishing a dedicated police unit for tackling insurance fraud, which would be funded by the industry. We recommended that such a unit should be set up, preferably by 2012-13.[34] This recommendation was agreed and the Association of British Insurers has told us that it will be operational from 1 January 2012. The Association is confident it will "deliver a step change in enforcement activity against fraudsters, deter future offending and reduce losses".[35] We congratulate all concerned with the establishment of the insurance fraud police unit and look forward to hearing more about its work during the rest of this Parliament.

25.  We also heard about proposals for the DVLA to give insurers access to its database, so details such as penalty points and convictions can be checked when insurance is being arranged. We welcomed this proposal and asked for information about the timetable for introduction.[36] The Government said there were several options for achieving this aim and it hoped to decide on an approach and agree a timetable for implementation during the summer.[37] The DVLA recently told us that the main challenge lay in authenticating the entity seeking to interrogate its database.[38] We recommend that the Government provide us with updated information on the timetable for its project to enable insurance firms to gain access in real-time to the DVLA database.

Uninsured driving

26.  In our earlier report we recommended that the penalties associated with driving, and keeping a car, without insurance should be reviewed once continuous insurance enforcement had bedded in, because the monetary penalties were usually much lower than the cost of insurance itself.[39] The Government accepted this recommendation.[40] Mike Penning MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, told us that he was working with the Ministry of Justice on sentencing guidance which would put more emphasis on penalty points and disqualification than fines because these are likely to be more of a deterrent. Although we see the sense in the Minister's view, penalty points will only act as a deterrent if they lead to disqualification: as we have subsequently found, thousands of drivers with more than 12 points on their licence continue to drive because the court has considered that disqualification would cause the driver "exceptional hardship".[41] We may return to this issue at a later date. In the meantime, we recommend that the Government keep us informed of its review of the penalties associated with motoring without insurance.

Young drivers

27.  Our previous report made recommendations relating to the driving test, post-test qualifications and new technology which can assist young drivers in demonstrating that they are safe drivers. We will return to these during our forthcoming inquiry into road safety.

34   CMI first report, paragraphs 43-44. Back

35   Ev 15. Back

36   CMI first report, paragraph 42. Back

37   Government reply, p6. Back

38   Oral evidence from the DVLA, 22 Nov 11, HC 1611-i (hereafter DVLA evidence) Q6. Back

39   CMI first report, paragraph 37. Back

40   Government reply, p5. Back

41   DVLA evidence, Qq 51-72. Back

previous page contents next page

© Parliamentary copyright 2012
Prepared 12 January 2012