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Editorial

The European Commission proposes to amend the Motor Insurance Directive

The European Commission proposes to strengthen EU rules on motor insurance to better protect victims of motor vehicle accidents and improve the rights of insurance policyholders.

On the 24th May, 2018, the European Commission tabled a proposal to the European Parliament and Council regarding the introduction of a number of amendments to the Motor Insurance Directive (Directive 2009/103/EC) (the 'Directive'). The proposed changes follow a public consultation which took place between July and October 2017.

The following are the amendments being proposed by the European Commission:

  • Insolvency of an insurer: If the insurer of the vehicle responsible for an accident is insolvent, victims will be fully compensated in their Member State of residence. In cross-border situations, this will ensure that the ultimate financial responsibility is borne by the insurance sector of the home Member State of the insurer, while ensuring that victims are compensated quickly.
  • Claims history statements: Insurers will have to treat claims history statements issued by an insurer in a different Member State equally to those issued domestically. This should ensure that citizens purchasing insurance abroad can benefit from more advantageous insurance premiums, on the same level as domestic consumers.
  • Uninsured driving: Member States' powers to combat uninsured driving will be reinforced. This can be done by conducting domestic systematic verification of motor third party liability insurance of registered policies, carrying out roadside checks and imposing effective penalties for owners of uninsured vehicle. On a cross border basis, checks can be carried out by making use of unobtrusive technological developments (such as number plate recognition technology) without impinging on the principle of free movement of people and vehicles in the Single Market.
  • Minimum amounts of cover: EU citizens will benefit from the same level of minimum protection when travelling in the EU. The proposal sets out harmonised minimum protection levels for personal injury and material damage across the EU, as current minimum levels differ slightly between Member States.
  • Scope of Directive: The rules clarify that accidents caused during the normal use of a vehicle for the purpose of transportation, including its use on private properties, are covered.
  • New types of motor vehicles: New types of motor vehicles, such as electric bikes (e-bikes), Segways and electric scooters already fall within the scope of the Directive. Furthermore, in accordance with the principle of subsidiarity, Member States have the power to exempt new types of electric motor vehicles from compulsory third-party motor insurance on the condition that a national compensation fund will ensure compensation of victims in case of an accident. The European Commission therefore deems that there is no need to bring any legislative changes in this respect.

Stakeholders and the general public are encouraged to respond to the proposal and accompanying impact assessment. The feedback period closes on the 24 July 2018.

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