October deadline for responding to REFIT review of European motor insurance

The European Commission has just started a review of the legal regime of compulsory motor insurance put in place by the Motor Insurance Directive EC/2009/103 (the MID). The review is the wider REFIT evaluation of all aspects of the MID and is open for responses until 20 October. It therefore runs in parallel with the shorter four week consultation about the inception impact assessment (IIA) for the MID, about which we posted this blog last week.

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European Motor Insurance: REFIT programme to provide window for Vnuk?

At the end of October the European Commission announced an extensive programme of work for 2016. There are 23 key initiatives and a further 27 proposals, the latter referred to collectively under the REFIT heading, to review existing EU laws. Item 25 of those is:

Motor Insurance Directive – evaluation. Evaluation of Directive 2009/103/EC intended to help EU residents involved in a road accident in another EU country. Under the Directive, subscribers to compulsory motor insurance policies in all EU countries are covered for motoring throughout the EU.

This wider work could perhaps have some influence on the present handling of the issues raised by Vnuk. This is a plausible (but far from certain) conclusion, given that the REFIT work on the MID could provide a means by which the Commission might take views, later in 2016, from stakeholders on a wide range of points related to the Directive. If that were so, then the broader focus of REFIT might allow the Commission – if it were so minded – some time in the medium term in which to think seriously about narrow reform to the MID in order to address some of the main concerns raised by the decision in Vnuk that compulsory insurance is required for any use of a motor vehicle that is consistent with its normal function.


About the Author

akAlistair Kinley is BLM’s Director of Policy & Government Affairs.

Alistair is responsible for BLM’s engagement with government departments and regulators on policy and public affairs issues and consultations affecting the firm and its customers. He coordinated BLM’s market-facing activities in connection with the Insurance Act 2015 and the consultations which preceded its publication and introduction in Parliament.

He is a member of the Civil Justice Council (CJC), a regular speaker and experienced commentator on legal and procedural reforms and was a contributing editor to the Law Society’s Litigation Funding Handbook (September 2014).

Vnuk – constructive solutions to minimise claims risks

I thought Alistair Kinley made a very valid point, in his earlier article of 13 August, calling for constructive solutions to the Vnuk problem. There needs to be a balance drawn between the protection of victims of accidents arising out of motor vehicles and the potential scope, post-Vnuk, of compulsory third party motor insurance (TPMI). Notably, TPMI will be required to cover use of vehicles, off-road, that may result in a contrived or potentially unworkable insurance solution.

Motorsport is an obvious example. At present, motorsport events that occur off-road are not subject to TPMI. Authorised motorsports events are licensed by the sport’s governing body through permits that extends public liability (PL) and personal accident cover for participants and event organisers. However this PL cover does not cover driver-to-driver liability. With this PL risk, post-Vnuk, potentially transferring over to a TPMI risk, not only does this give rise to some interesting liability questions, such as, how does one assess liability in a driver-to-driver collision when racing, but also fundamentally, with unquantified exposure, will there will be any appetite from motor insurers to underwrite the sport in the first instance?

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