400,000 policies were not reported by Direct Line to motor insurance database

The government has called for urgent talks with motor insurers after it emerged that Direct Line failed to correctly report thousands of policies to the Motor Insurance Database (MID).

Transport minister Rosie Winterton called the meeting following a complaint from Labour MP David Jones that a woman in his constituency had her car wrongly confiscated by North Wales police.

Helen Parry, of Llandudno, was stopped by police when driving her father’s car and told it was not insured. She was left standing in the rain until her mother arrived and paid £105 to free the car.

The police later apologised and blamed Direct Line for the error.

In a debate at the Houses of Parliament, Jones said Direct Line had failed to report 400,000 policies to the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (MIB), which manages the database.

Jones said: “It seems the information provided by Direct Line to the database was erroneous. I have since dis-covered that the details of around 400,000 motorists insured by that company had not been provided to the database within the required time frame.”

The MIB urges police to use the database if a driver contests the uninsured allegation and insists insurers notify the MID of 95% of all changes to motor insurance within 14 days. From January this will be cut to seven days.

It said insurers achieve 97.5% within 14 days and 80% within 48 hours. The organisation claims that as many as 100,000 uninsured vehicles have been taken off the road as a result.

Winterton said insurers that persistently provide wrong or late data would suffer bad publicity.

The ABI said it would “apply pressure” to any member not providing fast and accurate information to the database.

The MIB said: “Accidental seizures of cars is very rare.”

Direct Line did not deny the MP’s figures. It said: “Due to a recent systems error, a number of Direct Line policies were not uploaded on to the MID. This was a temporary error and any policies that were affected have now been rectified.”