New MIB Untraced and Uninsured Drivers Agreements

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By Frances Lawley

 

The new agreements come into force for accidents occurring after 1 March 2017. They were published on 13 January 2017 with the following statement:

MIB paying a claim for the damage to an uninsured driver’s car when it has been caused by another uninsured or a ‘hit and run’ driver seems counter-intuitive. However, from 1 March 2017 that is what MIB will be required to do.

Paul Ryman-Tubb, Chief Technical Officer at MIB said: “Whilst we will deal with these claims in a professional manner, the principle of using honest premium paying motorists money to pay for the damage to an uninsured driver’s car seems crazy.”

This ‘crazy’ element to the new agreement relates to the removal of the exclusion of vehicle damage claims where the vehicle damaged was also uninsured. Crazy or not, this is the new agreement between the Secretary of State for Transport and insurance companies via the MIB.

The other main changes are as follows:

  • a change to the definition of “significant personal injury” (section 7(2));
  • setting out clearly that the state of knowledge for the purposes of a claim by dependents was the deceased’s state of knowledge (section 8(4));
  • the compulsory use of the MIB claim form (section 10(2));
  • awards to children and protected parties to be subject to approval by an arbitrator in all cases (section 14);
  • a new scale of fixed costs (section 21); and
  • wider provisions for the costs of arbitration (section 22).

Concerns have been expressed about the exclusion of solicitors and other legal representatives from the initial stages of the process, particularly having regard to onerous disclosure obligations. Kerry Underwood’s blog on this point is an interesting read and can be found here:

https://kerryunderwood.wordpress.com/2017/02/08/new-mib-untraced-drivers-scheme-insurers-at-it-again/

It should be noted that there are currently no changes as a result of the CJEU decision in Damijan Vnuk v Zavarovalnica Trigalev (C-162/13). This case held that compulsory motor insurance extended to any use consistent with “the normal function” of the vehicle and, on the facts of this case, that extended to the use of a vehicle on private land. This goes beyond the scope of current compulsory insurance in the UK pursuant to the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the necessary changes to UK law are currently the subject of government consultation. In light of the UK’s imminent exit from the EU, it seems perfectly foreseeable that this will come to nothing.

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