Biba is gearing up to go head to head with direct insurers on 'pay-as-you-drive' motor cover.

The trade association is looking at setting up a scheme to allow brokers to offer black box technology to customers. This could be used as a key selling point for brokers, under growing pressure from direct insurers in the motor market.

The black box system, or telematics, is designed to enable underwriters to price risk according to motorists' driving habits. Norwich Union and More Th>n both launched pay-as-you-drive schemes in 2006, aimed at younger drivers.

Graeme Trudgill, Biba technical services manager, said the aim was to create a scheme which would allow motorists to switch insurer at renewal without being charged for changing the black box provider.

This would mean creating a universal system in conjunction with several insurers who would agree to support the initiative without significant charge.

"Brokers consider the direct writers using this technology as a real threat," he said. "It is important for them to know that we can compete. If road pricing is coming it is important for us to stay ahead of the game."

Paul Inskip, deputy chairman of the Biba motor committee added: "This would be invaluable for brokers, it will get them on the ladder ready to compete with direct writers."

He added: "Biba is trying to level the playing field between brokers and direct writers and this is one way of pushing that forward."

Initially the system would be designed for private motor, but there are possibilities of extending it to include motor fleet.

"Most fleet vehicles are already fitted with the technology but nobody has considered using it from an insurance point of view," said Inskip. "This could be something which Biba looks at."

The trade association is set to meet the ABI to discuss the proposals in coming weeks.