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.
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".
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.
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.
The DVLA recently told us that the main challenge lay in authenticating
the entity seeking to interrogate its database.
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
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.
The Government accepted this recommendation.
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".
We may return to this issue at a later date. In the meantime,
that the Government keep us informed of its review of the penalties
associated with motoring without insurance.
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
Ev 15. Back
CMI first report, paragraph 42. Back
Government reply, p6. Back
Oral evidence from the DVLA, 22 Nov 11, HC 1611-i (hereafter DVLA
evidence) Q6. Back
CMI first report, paragraph 37. Back
Government reply, p5. Back
DVLA evidence, Qq 51-72. Back