John Jackson says the government's timid approach to fighting ID fraud is frustrating the insurance industry

Here is a simple Who Wants To Be A Millionaire question: which of these countries does not have compulsory ID cards - Britain, Belgium, Germany or Italy?

The answer, of course, is Britain.

Unlike Millionaire, this is not the £1m question, however, it's a £100 question.

Why is it so easy for the Belgians, Germans and Italians to accept carrying ID cards, while the prospect turns us Brits into spasms of rage, prompts cries of 'human rights' and finds the government in an awful mess?

The ABI estimates that identity fraud costs the insurance industry £22m a year. This is why the chip-and-pin system has been enforced for purchasing goods by credit or debit card.

The ABI is working with the Home Office to stem the tide of identity fraud, but many MPs have become squeamish - and Labour has faced an internal party revolt - when it comes to bringing in tougher measures.

The government's policy is "compromise, compromise, compromise".

It is difficult to see how the insurance industry can benefit from a government plan which has more holes in it than a string vest.

This is because it will only apply when someone seeks a passport and nobody will be required to carry an ID card by law.

Oh, yes - and you pay for it yourself.

Apart from that, the plan is foolproof.

It is this timid approach to fighting fraud that frustrates the insurance industry, bringing to mind the famous graffiti: "The meek shall inherit the earth - if that's alright by you."

Too many MPs fail to grasp the fact that insurance is a pool. If insurers lose money, then premiums go up for all.

Insurance is not there to pick up the tab for poor legislation, neither is it an extension of the state welfare system.

To adapt the principle spoken by Mr Micawber in Great Expectations: "Annual premiums £20, annual claims £19.96, result happiness. Annual premiums £20, annual claims £20.06, result misery."

Like Mr Micawber, the insurance industry has expectations.

They are unlikely to be fulfilled.

The government seems hamstrung by prevaricating politicians of all parties and can only wound, not kill, this particular crime. IT