Having been largely silent for a year about how to tackle the Vnuk problem (i.e. the extended scope of compulsory motor insurance to any normal use, anywhere, of any motor vehicle) the European Commission appears to have picked up the pace significantly in just announcing a new four-week consultation period running from 24 July to 21 August.
The government has this week launched a 14-week consultation to determine whether the current definition of a vehicle should be extended. It will question which type of vehicles should be covered by compulsory insurance.
Transport Minister Andrew Jones MP (Harrogate & Knaresborough) replied this week to questions from Sammy Wilson MP (East Antrim) about how the UK Government intends to deal with the decision of the European Court in Damijan Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Triglav (a Slovenian case).
Mr Wilson – who backed the leave campaign, as did 55% of his constituents – represents a constituency with a large farming sector and his interest in Vnuk seems more likely to stem from that background than from the need for technical alignment of UK and EU motor insurance regimes.
This morning the Commission released its road map setting out possible options to deal with unintended consequences of the Vnuk decision. The carefully-worded text is headed “Adaptation of the scope of Directive 2009/103/EC on motor insurance” and sets out four possible options.
Despite the four options described, the road map reads, to me at least, as leaning in favour of the sort of modest but important change to the Motor Insurance Directive that we have already outlined on this blog.
We are still waiting for a road map from the Commission in which it is to set out its preferred approach to dealing with the unintended consequences of the Vnuk case on motor – and on other casualty – insurance policies. Continue reading
With less than a month to go to the referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU, it seems strange that the wackier consequences of compliance with the decision in Vnuk have not yet been trailed out by those hoping to leave the Union. After all, we’ve only just had a spat about whether the EU requires us to sell bananas in bunches of threes or fours and headlines along the lines of “Bonkers EU means Granny’s motability scooter has to be insured!” would hardly be any less edifying.
As 2015 and the New Year celebrations become ever more remote and we try to predict the future and prioritise work for 2016 the question arises as to where, when and how much resource to commit to responding to the very significant problems thrown up by the decision of Vnuk to UK insurance law. Continue reading
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
Alistair 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).
Following the European Court of Justice ruling, the UK Government will soon have to change the rules about motor insurance law.
To help provide an insight into the consequences of the Vnuk ruling, BLM’s director of policy and government affairs, Alistair Kinley has spoken to Post content director, Jonathan Swift.
As we head towards Christmas with the reminder that a gift of a pet is “for life” and “not just for Christmas” a similar warning might be applied to those considering the 2016 “to do” list for UK general insurance. Continue reading