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September, 18 2019
September, 12 2019
Proposal regarding the Motor Insurance Directive (2009/103/EC)
The proposal, as submitted by the Commission, seeks to amend the Motor Insurance Directive (2009/103/EC) in five specific areas: (i) insolvency of the insurer; (ii) claims history; (iii) risks due to uninsured driving; (iv) minimum amounts of cover; and (v) scope of the Directive. The rapporteur agrees on the one hand that in general the Motor Insurance Directive remains fit for purpose but, on the other hand he addresses the most pertinent points according to which the Commission proposal and the Motor Insurance Directive need to be improved in order to ensure a high level of protection of victims of motor vehicle accidents, and facilitate the free movement of motor vehicles between the Member States.
As concerns the scope of the Directive, the rapporteur notes that there has been some confusion among Member States on which vehicles fall within the scope of the Directive. This concerns, in particular, vehicles like eBikes, segways or electric scooters, but also vehicles for instance used in motor sports. The rapporteur has proposed that only vehicles, which are subject to type-approval requirements, should fall within the scope of the Directive. However, Member States should have the option of requiring also other vehicles to have compulsory insurance cover, if they deem it necessary.
Additionally, the rapporteur considers that the provisions regarding checks on insurance under the Article 4 remain too vague as concerns the procedures and the way the Member State’s authority check whether a vehicle, which is registered in another Member State has insurance cover. The rapporteur points out that there is already a software application called Eucaris (European Vehicle and Driving Licence Information System) available, which provides for an expeditious, secure and confidential exchange of specific VRD (vehicle registration data) between Member States. This application is inter alia used for cross-border exchange of information on road-safety-related traffic offences under Directive (EU) 2015/413.
As regards the insolvency of the insurer (new Article 10a), the rapporteur has concerns about the provision (paragraph 2), whereby injured parties may not present a claim to a compensation body, if they have taken action against the insolvent insurance undertaking and the action is pending. In rapporteur’s view, this restriction would be too detrimental for the injured party and is not justified, especially if one considers the length that legal proceedings against an insurer might take.
Moreover, the rapporteur also notes that after 2009, when five earlier Directives were consolidated, the Motor Insurance Directive now contains both the terms “victim” and injured party”, whereas only the latter has been defined in the Directive. The term “injured party” has been understood to comprise both direct and indirect victims (e.g. family members after a fatal accident). It is therefore appropriate to align the wording and refer to “injured party” in all the provisions of the text.Upon this point, the rapporteur also proposes to address a specific situation of liability in case of an accident involving a trailer towed by a powered vehicle (new Article 15a).
In order to enable injured parties to seek compensation, the Directive obliges Member States to establish information centres (Article 23), which inter alia keep a register of the registration numbers of motor vehicles, based on their territories, and the numbers of insurance policies covering the use of those vehicles. The rapporteur notes with concern, however, that currently there is no obligation upon insurers to inform those information centres when a policy is no longer valid for a registered vehicle, possibly leading to wrong data being stored in the register. Therefore, the register needs to be constantly updated and fully integrated with vehicle registration databases, to maximize the accuracy of the information stored therein.
Finally, the rapporteur considers it important to insert a review clause to evaluate, no later than five years after the transposition date, whether the Directive remains fit for purpose, in particular in the light of technological developments as regards autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicles. If needed, that evaluation should be accompanied by a legislative proposal.