Motor insurance and Vnuk: “that is probably quite enough from me”

Updated 29 April 2022. The Bill received Royal Assent yesterday. As that was the last sitting day of this Parliamentary session, it’s fair to say that this really went very close to the wire. Under the terms of what is now the Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Act 2022, the targeted re-setting of the scope of compulsory motor insurance takes effect automatically in two months.

Yesterday afternoon at 15:59 Lord Robathan moved the final stages of the Vnuk-reforming Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill yesterday with this phrase. At 15:40 the Bill was passed and it is scheduled to receive Royal Assent later in the week. It will take effect two months from then, meaning that by late June the effects of Vnuk v Zararovalnica and Lewis v Tindale will be removed from motor insurance law in the UK mainland.

For completeness, the EU 27 have also agreed to reform the effect of the line of cases stemming from Vnuk – itself decided back in September 2014 – with amendments to the Directive taking effect in December next year.

After some seven and a half years’ activity on this highly technical topic it is very tempting to agree that it is probably quite enough. Pragmatic law reform, pressed for and welcomed by the insurance and motor sport sectors in particular, is on its way.

Written by Alistair Kinley, Director of Policy and Government Affairs at BLM

Latest data from Official Injury Claim – trends / headlines?

Claims data for the period December 2021 – March 2022 (inclusive) has been released by Official Injury Claim. This means there are now 10 months of experience of OIC’s operation given that it was introduced to facilitate the notification and processing of claims falling within the RTA Small Claims Protocol which was introduced from 31 May 2021. Fast track RTA claims continue to be processed via the Claims Portal Co (often referred to as the MoJ Portal).

The latest OIC data report runs to 15 pages and can be consulted here. Among the headlines are the following.

  • Claims notified via OIC now average around 25,000 per month.
  • The split between represented and unrepresented claimants remains around ten to one (91%:9%).
  • Around two thirds of cases (64%) include a statutory whiplash injury plus another injury and nearly a third (32%) include statutory whiplash injuries only.
  • Two in five (38%) unrepresented claimants claim exceptional injuries/circumstances whereas only one in four (23%) represented claimants does so.
  • Settlement data has been released for the first time, showing 17,607 claims being settled since introduction of the service and 93% of those settling in whiplash tariff bands of up to nine months’ duration of symptoms (which is unsurprising given that the service has been running for ten months).

Combining OIC data with that from Claims Portal Co indicates average monthly claims numbers of around 32,000 since OIC was introduced. Although this is notably lower than pre-reform, pre-Covid averages of more than 55,000 cases per month in the Claims Portal, the latest OIC data report notes that direct comparison is difficult, stating that “There are significant non-service factors influencing driver behaviour and accident rate. These include the impact of Covid-19 as well as the general economic factors of cost and inflation that will indirectly influence vehicle miles and vehicle parc and ultimately accident rate.”

Motor Vehicles (Compulsory Insurance) Bill – final stages?

This is the legislation to remove the effects of the Vnuk decision from motor insurance law in England & Wales and in Scotland. It has been the subject of various earlier posts and updates on the blog.

The Bill’s Committee Stage debate was listed in the Lords for 6th April. The official report for the day is this: “Order for Commitment discharged”. I am pleased to say that not being a complete procedural geek, I didn’t instantly recognise the phrase. Erskine May (the bible on parliamentary process) explains that it is the formality by which a Bill can be scheduled, without the need for debate, for its next stage if no Peer wishes to speak and no amendments have been tabled.

Thus the next stage has been listed for 25 April – which is the last Lords sitting day of the current Parliamentary session. So this is going down to the wire after all, but we remain cautiously optimistic that the remaining stages of this short, but important, Bill will be completed then. Arrangements for commencement are that it will take effect two months afterwards.

Written by Alistair Kinley at BLM (