FITNESS FOR PURPOSE
THE MIB POLICE HELPLINE -
NOW A MAJOR WEAPON IN THE
FIGHT AGAINST UNINSURED DRIVING
THE MIB POLICE HELPLINE - NOW A MAJOR WEAPON
IN THE FIGHT AGAINST UNINSURED DRIVING
MIB has launched the Police Helpline project - officers using the service has been highly investigate how to achieve this with police and
a key initative in supporting our aim to combat complimentary, which is an excellent insurers over the coming months. This is
uninsured driving. Following the successful achievement for the staff that handled these largely dependent upon our work with insurers
single point of contact (SPOC) pilot, we will enquiries along with their day-to-day job. The to provide sufficient level of contact that will be
extend this service from the current 4 pilot participating police forces have expressed their available for the same hours, even if it is
forces to every police force in the UK. It is satisfaction with the service and also requested through the offices of an existing customer
forecast that this service will help the police that we extend the current 9.00am to 5.00pm services call centre. Additionally, we will be
and the MIB to remove an additional 10,000 cover to longer hours to help them get even looking at the problems and the issues that
uninsured vehicles from our roads in 2007 more value from the service. have arisen as a result of the pilot, and look to
alone. resolve them in the new helpline service.
The helpline is integral to the police work so
much so, that in a recent operation where a
member of MIB staff was present, the officer
What does the service offer? Acknowledgements
used his mobile phone to ring the helpline as
the battery on his own phone had run out.
When road traffic police officers pull over a As we look to roll out the helpline, this is an
This particular call also resulted in a seizure
vehicle that does not appear on MID, there are appropriate time to thank all the MIB
(a small price to pay).
often occasions where the driver claims to be volunteers, insurance company staff, and the
insured (even producing an insurance road traffic policing officers of the Metropolitan,
certificate), which might leave the police officer Merseyside, South Yorkshire, and West
uncertain about whether the vehicle is insured What happens next? Yorkshire forces for their considerable efforts in
or not. In these circumstances, the officer is making the SPOC pilot such a success, and for
The project team plan to have fully-trained,
faced with a dilemma. If the officer lets the reducing the number of uninsured vehicles on
dedicated helpline staff in place in April this
vehicle go, they could be permitting an the roads. With the continued support of
year, and to roll out the service to all of the UK
uninsured driver to escape appropriate action, insurers, police and our staff, the Police
police forces within a period of 12 months.
including the seizure of the vehicle. Helpline will continue to provide a valuable
If, however, the officer seizes a vehicle that service in the drive to reduce uninsured driving.
The 4 pilot forces have demonstrated a very
subsequently turns out to be insured but not
keen interest in having the helpline service
on MID, they risk damaging the reputation of
available during later evening hours. We will
the enforcement authorities and the insurance
industry. The officers can seize where they
have reasonable grounds to believe the vehicle
is uninsured. February 5 police forces to be added (18% of all UK forces live)
April Dedicated team takes over from volunteers
Where there are doubts about the existence of
valid insurance the Police Helpline can provide May 27% of all UK forces live
the officer with a definitive answer in the September 41% of all UK forces live
majority of cases by undertaking additional
December 67% of all UK forces live
investigations beyond making a MID enquiry,
by contacting the alleged insurer. February 2008 100% of all UK police forces live
This confirms whether or not the vehicle is
insured, enabling the officer to make the
appropriate decision: seize an uninsured
vehicle that otherwise might have escaped
their attention, or refrain from inconveniencing
the driver and advise them to investigate why
the vehicle is not on the MID.
What did the pilot show us?
The pilot involved 4 police forces (Metropolitan,
Merseyside, West Yorkshire and South
Volunteers from different operational areas of
MIB operated the pilot. The response from the
UPDATING THE MID WITH ‘BLANKET’ POLICY INFORMATION
• Insurers' own websites
• Manual methods, such as sending an email, or simply making a
Some insurers will allow different policyholders to use different
mechanisms - for example they may be happy to accept an email if the
client has only two or three vehicles, but if they have 5000 they may
want them to submit data direct to MID. Some insurers may also be
happy for brokers to offer a service to their clients, whilst others prefer
to be able to monitor updates direct so that responsibility for any
problems is clear.
The decision to place business with a particular insurer should take into
account their MID requirements, and this should be discussed with the
client - if the insurer insists on the use of MIDUpdate by the policyholder
alone, then (although such a case is probably rare) this would clearly be
a problem for someone with no computer. MIB encourages insurers to
be flexible in their requirements, but there is clearly a cost to supporting
every imaginable way of updating MID.
Keeping the Motor Insurance Database (MID) up-to-date with the details
of vehicles which are insured under “blanket” policies (most of which are Some brokers have asked if all insurers could adopt a standard
either fleets or motor trade) is the responsibility of the policyholder approach, but this might in fact reduce flexibility. Some insurers want
himself. The law requires this information to be supplied to the insurer, more information than others because, for instance, they use it in place
of declarations; therefore if everyone used the same system some users
although some insurers use the MID facility which gives clients direct
might have more work to do than at present. Some insurers who
access to their own details. The range of different ways in which data
operate their own websites may also offer additional services to their
may be supplied can be confusing, but there are three main approaches:
policyholders, seeing the site as an opportunity to improve on
• The MIDUpdate website, which is run centrally for all insurers competitor offerings - this competition should ultimately benefit
choosing to use it customers.
Who Does What
The Motor Insurers' Information Centre (MIIC, a division of MIB) website • MMA take updates via email
www.miic.org.uk lists the update methods used for most insurers.
• NIG have other arrangements for small fleets who declare on an
High level information can be found at “immediate” or “as and when” basis
www.miic.org.uk/fleet/submission_routes.htm but the best approach is
• NU have other arrangements for mini-fleets and specified policies
always to talk to the insurer, especially if a client has particular needs.
(all others are MIDUpdate)
Over a third of insurers allow the use of MIDUpdate as at least one of their
mechanisms, but of the larger insurers, the following exceptions apply: • RSA & Zurich both have their own websites which policyholders are
required to use.
For MIDUpdate users, a user ID and password will be needed, and If the policyholder wants to check which vehicles are currently recorded
insurers' own sites are likely to have similar requirements, so either the on MID against the policy, then MIDUpdate users can see this
broker or policyholder should make sure this is arranged as quickly as information on-line. Users of insurers' own websites should be aware
possible - for MIDUpdate this can even happen before the that when they view information on those sites they are not looking at the
MID itself, as the data is sent on by the insurer in a separate operation.
In the event of any difficulties the relevant insurer helpdesk should be the
The key thing to remember when setting up a new policy is that the law first port of call - MIB cannot access the policy information.
requires the policyholder to submit their data to the insurer
When changing insurers all the vehicles will have to resubmitted to the
“immediately”, so it makes sense to put the wheels in motion as soon as
MID, even if both the new and old insurers use MIDUpdate. To assist in
possible. If the insurer has not provided instructions by the inception
this process all insurers have the ability to download a list of all vehicles
date then the broker or policyholder should follow this up.
on a policy to send to policyholders, which can be used to create a new
schedule for the new policy.
OUR PROGRESS SO FAR - A REVIEW OF 2006
KEY ACTIVITIES AND ACHIEVEMENTS The website through which updates may be made now carries a monthly
“tip”, some of which are aimed at assisting the user, and others at
OF THE LAST 12 MONTHS highlighting the need for regular and accurate updating in variety of ways.
Best practice guidelines for all “problem areas” within MID1 (such as All the policyholder guides relating to this site were updated and
cancellations) and MID2 (particularly vehicles) were agreed with the re-published during 2006.
industry, including brokers, and were then published to all insurers and
• New and improved management information was developed for MID2,
including projects for CR 352 (Legitimate unpopulated policy flag),
CR355 (Estimated Fleet Size field), and CR330 (Individual time-to-
There was a significant increase in dedicated broker communications,
strongly supported by BIBA and IIB. The communications programme
used a number of media to get the message across, including:
The Road Safety Bill became law on 7th November 2006. The new
• A “broker guide” addressed the role of the broker and the key areas for offence is expected to come into force during 2008.
attention (in both MID1 and MID2). BIBA was closely involved in its
development. This was distributed to all BIBA and IIB members.
• A very popular “top tips” card highlighted the key MID messages. The MID1 Time to Supply
cards were sent to every general insurance broker on the FSA register, MID1 TTS for past 12 months
as well all BIBA and IIB members. 100.0%
• The MIIC website broker area was significantly improved, and a 94.0%
dedicated E-mail address was created for broker enquiries. 90.0%
• A “special edition” of the MIB Newsletter, aimed at brokers and 84.0%
covering the MID, was published at the end of October. 80.0%
Ja n-06 Fe b-06 Ma r-06 Apr-06 Ma y-06 Jun-06 Jul-06 Aug-06 Se p-06 Oct-06 Nov-06 De c-06
• Neil Drane spoke at the BIBA Scottish Regional Conference in 7 days 14 days 95% Target
MID2 Vehicle Time to Supply
• Articles have appeared in BIBA's The Broker as well as the broker
MID2 Vehicles TTS for past 12 months
New policyholder leaflets were produced. ACFO and BVRLA assisted in 85.0%
their creation. Over 250,000 of the leaflets - one each dedicated to the 80.0%
fleet and motor trade markets - were supplied to insurers and others. 75.0%
Ja n-06 Fe b-06 Ma r-06 Apr-06 Ma y-06 Jun-06 Jul-06 Aug-06 Se p-06 Oct-06 Nov-06 De c-06
21 days 95% Target
MID2 Policy Time to Supply
MID2 Policies TTS for past 12 months
Ja n-06 Fe b-06 Ma r-06 Apr-06 Ma y-06 Jun-06 Jul-06 Aug-06 Se p-06 Oct-06 Nov-06 De c-06
14 days 95% Target
THE WAY FORWARD - 2007 COMMUNICATIONS PLAN
In 2006 the FFP communications programme focused on increased Key Activities
broker engagement and tackling MID2 (commercial) policyholders.
• Devise mechanism for allowing policyholders to check details on MID
In 2007 MIB aims to build on these achievements and extend the
and plan publicity campaign
messages to a wider audience in preparation for the new continuous
insurance enforcement regime expected in 2008. • Publicise MID and encourage checking (link to impending new
Themes • Press releases to trade, local and national press on the uninsured
driving problem, the new offence and the need to get insured
• Updates on progress of the FFP programme
• Work with top 10 uninsured driving police force areas to promote key
• Policyholder verification of their MID details
messages with senior and “beat” officers, supported by public
• Industry support required to achieve the FFP objective campaigns and police materials
• Increased awareness of the uninsured driving problem and the • Devise training and information materials for distribution to the police
role of MIB and MID
• Use BIBA and IIB's email updates and newsletters to distribute
• Awareness of the new keeper offence and its implications articles, with publication on broker area of MIIC website
• Action being taken to tackle the uninsured driving problem effectively. • Lobby Government to ensure appropriate detailed and financed plan
in place to target hot spot areas through local press, radio
coverage and leaflet dropping campaigns
• Visit local schools, campaigning about the consequences of uninsured
driving. Provide literature to local driving schools.
PREVENTING WRONGFUL SEIZURES BY THE POLICE
A recent email survey of brokers highlighted a number of areas relating dealer, for example, this may appear uninsured for a short time after
to the facts surrounding policies and the possibility of vehicle seizure by purchase - in such a case the certificate or cover note should assist in
the police. demonstrating that insurance is in place. The police are also aware that
MID is not “real-time”, so a certificate or cover note with a recent date
One broker mentioned a concern that an insured motorist could be should be accepted, although of course MIB cannot dictate to the police
stopped by the police, and have his vehicle seized because insurance under what circumstances a seizure would be legitimate or otherwise.
had only just been taken out and didn't yet appear on the MID. A police
officer may seize a vehicle if he has “reasonable grounds” to suspect It is of course impossible to prevent this situation entirely but the
that there is no insurance. Each officer will have a different view on what chances can be minimised by ensuring that renewal is complete by the
constitutes “reasonable grounds”, but MID is not proof of insurance, and date it is required (especially if a client's policy is not automatically
MIB has continually reminded the police of this. If the police are in renewed) and that any changes are notified to the insurer as quickly as
doubt about the validity of a certificate or cover note they should possible.
contact the insurer, or, if the insurer cannot be contacted, MIB operates
Another broker mentioned that they have been having problems with
a police helpline service, detailed elsewhere in this newsletter.
postal delays, which have contributed towards some policy notifications
The police will not generally stop vehicles unless they already have some being late. MIB's recommended best practice is that brokers should use
suspicion about them - for example because of a hit on an ANPR hot- their insurers' dedicated fax number or email address to send manual
list, which may happen if the vehicle has been uninsured for some time. business updates where possible. Where the post is used, brokers
The hot-list provided by MIB takes into account the time taken for a should send the updates daily rather than in weekly batches.
record to appear on the MID but if a second-hand car is bought from a
AT THE SHARP END - NORWICH UNION'S
JULIAN BEARDSWORTH SPENDS A DAY WITH THE MET
“When I found I'd won a day enforcing Just after the brow of a hill on a single lane
uninsured driving in a business card draw part of the Edgware Road was the police
organised by the Motor Insurers' Bureau at the Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR)
ABI's Motor Conference, I didn't exactly turn van with four cameras. The onboard computer
cartwheels. As the day approached my mental deciphered the number plates on vehicles
picture was of sitting in a squad car, crawling going past on the nearside but also on some
through London traffic, spotting likely offenders going in the other direction, ran the details
and then checking off registration numbers against its extensive array of databases, and
over the radio against the Motor Insurance set off an alarm at every hit for illegality. Mark,
Database (MID). In my mind's eye, we would the policeman in the van then checked that the
then stop and challenge them and, with a bit of car was heading towards his colleagues at
luck, catch one or two uninsured drivers. Wickes rather than away from them, tapped
I couldn't have been much further from the the number plate into the police national
impressive truth.” computer (which holds the most up-to-date
versions of all the databases) and then radioed
“I was picked up at a station in North West
300 metres down the slow moving road to “Pull
London just after midday - police experience is
over the blue Peugeot van, no insurance”.
that illegal motoring isn't generally part of a 9
to 5 lifestyle. We drove to the A5 Edgware Down the road, a couple of policemen then
Road in Brent and stopped in a cul de sac with waved the suspect vehicle into the cul de sac Neither the bailiffs nor the DVLA have the right
warehouse shops: Wickes had been and Wickes car park where a posse of police to pull vehicles over…..but the police they
approached and agreed to allow the police to took details and listened to the drivers' alerted certainly did. Just brilliant! I don't
use their car park for the day. Assembled there normally half-hearted attempts to talk know about efficient, I was more inclined to
was a crowd of fluorescent police jackets. themselves out of a very clear offence. On-the- think about a nomination for a design award.
There were about thirty policemen and women spot fines were issued for some offences; the
And how well did it all work? Pretty much like
and, as became clear, other professional cars, vans, trucks and motorbikes that were
clockwork. One in ten vehicles raised an alarm
enforcers. I started to get impressed. uninsured or being driven by unaccompanied
and about half of those were travelling in the
probationers or disqualified drivers were
The Traffic Policeman in charge was Sergeant right direction and made it through the
seized. The police at the car park were largely
John McNeill, a most charming, professional validation against the police national computer.
new graduates from Hendon Police College,
career policeman who was just doing his job - The constraint was only having twenty police at
being supervised in their first 10 weeks as
rather well. He explained the set-up to me and Wickes and a single eight-vehicle transporter.
police officers. As Sgt McNeill explained “after
how I would spend my day with the different When I arrived, the first vehicle had been
twenty four years of hunting offenders on the
elements of his extended team. It became seized from an unaccompanied provisional,
road, this just delivers them to you, and in a
clear, that, on this bright Tuesday in December, and hence uninsured, driver - and it didn't take
controlled environment”; it was great
a streamlined production process to catch much more than an hour to pull over another
experience for the new policemen and women.
uninsured drivers was in place. seven vehicles for seizure. As well as a fixed
The transporter to take away the seized cars
penalty of £200, the vehicle removal fee of
was parked at the end of the cul de sac, as
£105 and £12 a day storage had to be met or
was a lorry to hold seized motorbikes. If a
the vehicle was crushed after seven days.
suspect driver decided to make a run for it,
Finally, offenders receive six penalty points on
there was a police pursuit vehicle on hand to
their licences, which means that anyone having
dissuade or pursue them.
held a licence for less than two years loses it.
Now, the police operation in itself would have The police just loved it!
been good, but the process was much, much
The police were affronted by Insurers having
better than that: there was a second van at the
failed to sort out the Driving Other Cars
brow of the hill replicating the police ANPR van
extension - “everyone now knows you just get
but for the National Enforcement Agency -
your mate with fully comp along, he drives the
known as bailiffs - identifying vehicles
car out of the pound and then you get back in
associated with unpaid court fines. And, to
and drive away”. Parochially, I felt that I had a
complete the extended team, at pedestrian
degree of moral high ground, given Norwich
lights just before the Wickes turning, stood an
Union's attempts to persuade the industry on
ex-policeman now employed by the DVLA who
DOC, but as a representative of the industry,
visually checked tax discs as the traffic crawled
felt that I had let the police down badly on this
past - blowing a whistle to alert the traffic
police when an out of date one was spotted.
In the ANPR van, the police operator Mark persuade the police that there was a policy in There couldn't have been more enthusiasm for
showed an uncanny ability to spot uninsured place on a DOC extension(!), but in the MID. Sgt McNeill said that over many months
drivers. He seemed to look up at the right meantime the bailiffs had processed the of daily use in enforcement, he'd known it be
time, clock the number plate and type it into brother's registration number and extracted wrong “only on one or two occasions”.
the computer to gain a few seconds, and got it £250 of unpaid fines before letting him go. I remember how challenging it was for the
right every time. I explored what it was that he industry to get its act together on MID but it
This was just one of five teams operating daily
spotted, and got the response common from was worth every drop of effort, as not only are
in London, with counterparts in the North East,
all the traffic police, “I just know it” - and they the police able to enforce uninsured driving
South East and West, and one Central team.
do. Mark used phrases like “horrible car” and really effectively but they get to catch other
“looked wrong” but I didn't get it, and a couple criminals and miscreants at the same time.
A recent operation “Foist” in and around
of attempts by me to spot villains failed on My original mental picture of a squad car and
Hackney resulted in 1,800 uninsured vehicles
both occasions. The MID insurance database one or two uninsured driving suspects in an
being seized in less than a month. The police
he was using was only one of many on the afternoon couldn't have been more wrong.
had to have access to a large car park to keep
computer but it made a really big difference. Seven cars and vans were seized for No
them all. If these teams are as effective as the
With uninsured driving police get the power to Insurance, as were a number of motorbikes -
extended team I saw, then they will make real
seize vehicles and so can “deny criminals the more would have been seized if there were
inroads into the problem of uninsured driving in
use of the road”. With the clear link between more transport available….which deserves
road tax evasion, uninsured driving and some thought in its own right. In total, fourteen
criminal activity in general, the police I spoke to It wasn't just 'horrible cars' that fell foul of the drivers were reported for No Insurance and
in Wickes car park all felt fantastically positive police operation. One 2006 registered three for driving not in accordance with the
about the enforcement of uninsured driving. Mercedes was pulled over on evidence of no provisions of a licence. There were arrests for
Apparently, activities linked to uninsured driving insurance, and a gold BMW M3 was seized. driving while disqualified, possession of
across the country have led to arrests for Men, women and families were in the cars. cannabis, fraudulently displaying a tax disc,
suspected murder, stolen cars and goods - one I almost felt sorry for illegal motorists trying to possession of a firearm and an immigration
with £30,000 in cash in the boot - and many drive north on the Edgware Road but then offence - you can imagine the pleasure these
other crimes. The DVLA man, Ian, loved it, as remembered the costs in pain, suffering and gave the new police officers making their first
he and his colleagues pulled in tens of tax damage that they do when they shouldn't be arrests. Nine drivers were reported for
dodgers in the course of an afternoon. on the roads at all, let alone the unpaid endorsable offences (tyres etc) and six for non-
premiums. endorsable (no seat belt etc). Twenty three
As it was getting dark and a little cold, I spent
drivers were reported for road tax evasion and
an hour in the back seat of the pursuit vehicle.
Something that would help the police a lot the bailiffs appeared to be having a field day,
Unfortunately, I didn't get to chase any
would be to extend the hours of the Police recovering over £5,000 in unpaid fines.
escaping criminals, but Kevin and Ken in the
Helpline at the Motor Insurers' Bureau (who
front did “persuade” a few of the most highly The day with police enforcing uninsured driving
confirm that vehicles are not insured by any
suspect vehicles that they shouldn't think of in North London turned out to be the best prize
insurer) beyond 5:30pm. As already explained,
making a run for it by dropping into the queue I've won in a long time. As one officer said,
criminals tend not to work office hours!
of traffic right behind them. In the course of “You go home really satisfied having taken ten
I promised to take this back to Norwich Union
the afternoon one alarm went off for “firearms uninsured vehicles off the road.”
and anyone else I can influence to see if we
on board” and despite the traffic police having
can get it staffed up to 9pm. In fact, Simon
bulletproof vests, they were not armed and so
Machell, my ultimate boss at Norwich Union,
let the vehicle pass through. That was more
was happy that this should be considered and, Julian Beardsworth
than fine with me.
as Chairman of MIB, would raise it. Support Director of Underwriting
from any other influential readers would Personal Lines
One van driver was suspected of not having
be welcome. Norwich Union
insurance, with the additional appearance of an
unsecured load. Eventually he summoned his
brother who had sufficient documentation to
IT BECAME CLEAR, THAT...
A STREAMLINED PRODUCTION
PROCESS TO CATCH UNINSURED
DRIVERS WAS IN PLACE.
DISPATCH OF CPS FILES ROUNDS OFF MID2 policyholders who have ignored the stopped and seized if the data is not on MID.
SUCCESSFUL YEAR FOR MIB efforts of insurers and MIB to ensure the Motor Companies are continuing to ignore the
Insurance Database is kept up-to-date will now potential costs and significant inconvenience
face prosecution and potential fines of this will generate.”
• A record 50,000 uninsured vehicles seized
up to £5,000.
by police using MID data in 2006 “The growing police activity in this area means
• First commercial policyholder (MID2) files it is imperative that companies get their vehicle
Ashton West, MIB Chief Executive explained:
submitted to the Crown Prosecution Service data onto MID. Despite our progress in 2006,
“Throughout 2006 we have been stressing the we are very aware of the challenges we still
• Compliance campaign results in a 28% importance of MID2 compliance. While many face. Uninsured driving is a menace and needs
reduction in unpopulated commercial policyholders have responded, some have to be recognised as socially unacceptable.
policies on the MID continued to ignore the requirement to supply This will require long term efforts by the
In December 2006 details of 16 commercial data. Of these, some will now face legal government, enforcement authorities and the
policyholders were sent to the Crown action. Even those who escape legal action insurance industry before it is removed.”
Prosecution Service. face the serious risk of having their vehicles
Police Seizures for no insurance, for just 5 forces, from January to October 2006
Force No. Seized Destroyed/Sold
GMP 10,368 35%
W.Yorks 7,202 48%
Merseyside 8,000 47%
W.Mids 14,379 38%
Met 2,818 30%
The Excel Conference Centre at Docklands is the temporary
TOTAL 42,767 40%
home for many of the vehicles seized by the Metropolitan Police
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