A month-long campaign has been launched to reduce the number of uninsured drivers on the road 

The Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB) has told Insurance Times there are growing fears that ghost brokers are targeting young drivers via social media platforms.

The comments come as the MIB and the NPCC’s National Roads Policing Intelligence Forum (NRPIF), undertake the month-long ‘Operation Drive Insured’ to target uninsured drivers across the UK.

The scheme will see increased enforcement activity to seize uninsured drivers’ vehicles to help improve road safety and raise public awareness of the issue. The campaign follows staggering year-on-year collision rates caused by drivers without valid insurance.

MIB, said it has recorded over 26,000 personal injuries in 2018 - equivalent to one person in the UK being injured every 20 minutes.

Uninsured drivers also cause a disproportionately high level of fatalities with over 130 people killed by an uninsured or untraced ‘hit and run’ driver each year.

“Police forces take action every day against those who choose not to insure their vehicles. This coordinated NPCC campaign highlights the issue of uninsured driving and anyone stopped by the police who is not insured can expect to have their vehicle seized and face a substantial fine as a consequence,” said Chief Constable Anthony Bangham, NPCC Lead, Roads Policing.

Government figures for the average value of road traffic injuries compared against MIB’s recorded rates indicate an annual economic cost over £1.8 billion. This includes costs for emergency services, medical care, loss of productivity and property damage.

Young drivers targeted 

A MIB spokesman told Insurance Times that there was growing evidence that ghost brokers were looking to target younger drivers, who were seeking cheaper insurance.

The result was the drivers were uninsured but believed they had a valid policy with the fact that the ’policy’ was bogus only coming to light when they were involved in a collision or road traffic incident.

“Ghost Brokers’ execute their crimes through a range of platforms which make it easy to reach their target audience,” he explained.

“Notably Instagram and Facebook have been used by GBs to target younger people. They also operate through online advertisements and have false websites. On some instances they can also have a physical office. The sophistication of these GBs practices can vary significantly.”

The concern for both insurers and police is the proportion of incidents and accidents that involve uninsured drivers and the fact that many uninsured drivers will commit other crimes, such as car theft. They are far more likely to leave the scene of an accident.

“People who drive without insurance are often linked to other risky and illegal behaviour,” explained the spokesman. “Uninsured drivers more frequently cause a motor collision and are often involved in wider crime; therefore, the cost of their policy would be higher, and this might further deter from driving with insurance. Research into wider crimes and risks on the road shows that criminals will tend to rationalise their behaviour.

“Some uninsured drivers are illegal drivers that would never be able to be insured, such as those who have been disqualified or don’t have a driving licence. A number of people also drive with insurance but an invalid policy due to wrong terms of use. This can be knowingly or unknowingly. One example, someone who commutes to business meetings on a social, domestic and pleasure policy.”

The cost of uninsured driving is continuing to rise added the MIB.

“Whereas the economic impact of uninsured driving to the insurance industry comes to around £400 million each year which is ultimately funded by honest motorists’ insurance premium. One contributing factor behind the concerning rate of collisions caused by uninsured drivers is that they aren’t motivated to drive more safely and legally to help keep policy costs down.”