Police concerns over the ease with which criminals produce fraudulent motor insurance documents should be resolved by the launch of the Motor Insurance Database (MID) on November 6, the Association of Chief Police Officers claimed this week.
The database, put together by the Motor Insurers Information Centre in collaboration with the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and police groups, will hold records of all individually insured vehicles.
Authorised users, such as the police and insurers, will be able to access insurance details by inputting a vehicle's registration number.
Sergeant Draper, who questioned the insurance industry's commitment to stamping out conterfeit motor insurance documents in a letter in last week's Insurance Times, prompted a strong response from readers.
He said insurance documents realistic enough to fool police officers were easily reproduced on a home PC.
“We're touching the tip of the iceberg because it's so hard to tell if they're genuine documents or not, the ones we find are pure luck,” he said.
“Word soon passes around the criminal establishment about what you can get away with and they're very quick to learn.”
His request for a system that enabled police to rapidly verify insurance status was backed up by the Association of Chief Police Officers of England, Wales and Northern Ireland (ACPO), which collaborated on the MID due to concerns about the issue.
“This is something we've been aware of as a problem, so there's been something set up to combat it,” an ACPO spokesman said.
An ABI spokeswoman said the association had pushed for the MID as an information source for insurers, but agreed that it would be useful in combating motor insurance fraud.
In his letter to Insurance Times, published last week, Sgt Draper's stance was supported by EP Ward account executive Irene Constable, who wrote that her brokerage was forced to issue certificates of insurance that looked like photocopies.
“It doesn't cease to amaze us that Post Offices accept these certificates as proof of insurance,” she wrote.
Motor Insurance Consultancy and Training spokesman Roy Rodger also wrote to alert Sgt Draper to the launch of the MID.
“I am sure [Sgt Draper] will realise how much time and effort the MID will save the police and I hope it will go some way to easing the problem,” Rodger wrote.