Biba has begun lobbying the government over excessive bureaucracy blocking legalisation over electronic motor insurance certificates, costing the motor market millions of pounds.

As the law stands it is illegal for brokers to email motor insurance certificates to policyholders, although it is not illegal to email the policy documentation. Biba is lobbying the Department for Transport (DfT) to add a clause to the Road Traffic Act which would overturn the ruling.

Chairman of Biba's motor committee Paul Inskip said: "The DfT and DVLA insist that motor certificates have to be printed in a regulated office, but there is no way of knowing whether this has been done. At the moment, for evident- iary purposes certificates must be published in regulated offices."

Biba recommended at the beginning of 2006 that the law be amended to allow the documentation to be sent in a locked PDF file which could only be opened by the policyholder with a code sent by the supplier. "In principal we saw no problems with this," Inskip said.

But eight months on, the law remains unchanged.

Motor broker Budget is ready to launch a service which will instantly deliver all documentation to policy- holders at the contract's inception. But Budget Group director Matthew Donaldson said the project has been delayed because of the DfT.

"Clearly this is an absolute nonsense," Donaldson told Insurance Times. "We are ready to deliver online documents, we have a panel of insurers ready to allow us to do it but red tape is holding us up. It is not only frustrating but time consuming and costly."

He added: "We are entering dinosaur territory here."

It is understood that the change in the law has come to a standstill while the DfT consider other changes to the Road Traffic Act.

Ashton West, chief executive of the Motor Insurance Bureau said: "We are very supportive of the use of electronic certificates, it will speed things up. However, the systematic enforcement of insurance is more of a priority at the moment."