I refer to the article on the front page (News, 8 June). The affordability question has dogged young driver premiums for as long as I can remember but it is, of course, particularly high profile at present given the welcome attention that is being paid to the issue of uninsured driving.

It was particularly pleasing, therefore, to see the article give recognition to the fact that we must try our utmost not to disturb the fragile financial equation that exists in this sector of the market by creating solutions that only serve to add cost and potentially create more temptation to drive without insurance.

I am not so sure the reference in the article to the MOT is correct in the sense that you clearly need to have insurance and a valid MOT (if your vehicle is of a certain age) to tax the vehicle, but you do not need to provide evidence of insurance when obtaining an MOT. Perhaps you should.

The Road Traffic Act does, of course, demand that a certificate of insurance is surrendered in certain circumstances, but I think it is true to say that this is unlikely to happen in a premium default situation, despite the best efforts of insurers to recover them.

Now we have the motor insurance database there is a way of establishing whether a certificate that is produced in certain situations is still valid as the database record will, of course, show the relevant policy as cancelled.

This will also mean that the various automatic number plate recognition system and roadside checks that are regularly carried out will flag up a potential issue regarding the validity of the certificate, as there will be no live insurance record on the database.

Increasing use of the database as part of the electronic re-taxing of vehicles will also reduce the dependency on paper certificates – documents that are all to easy to forge.

The new ‘keeper’ insurance requirement, brought in as part of the new Road Safety Act, lays the foundation for the need for continuous insurance. And there are clearly plans afoot to link the database and DVLA data to identify those individuals who cancel their insurance mid-term despite the fact there appears to be strong evidence to suggest that the vehicle remains in use.

The increase in the number of prosecutions for insurance-related offences is surely a clear sign that detection and prosecution have become easier, with the motor insurance database playing a significant role.

It is a continuing disappointment, however, that the penalties rarely reflect the severity of the offence.

Over time it seems likely that the evidential aspect of motor insurance will switch from paper to electronic.

But, in the interim, the ability to send certificates electronically appears to be a helpful way forward particularly if there is a move towards the issue of monthly or quarterly certificates in circumstances where it is felt the issue of an annual certificate would be unwise, or where the dates of the certificate need to be more closely matched to the payment cycle of the premium, which may be a solution to the young driver issue raised in the article.

Jack Brownhill


World Motor Insurance Consultancy