Injuries from crimes committed by uninsured e-scooter riders could be problematic for the insurance industry
The Motor Insurers’ Bureau bureau could see a rising number of claims from victims of crimes committed by those riding uninsured electric scooter (e-scooter), law firm BLM told Insurance Times.
Crimes such as theft and assault committed by e-scooter have surged in London, with nearly 300 over the past four months according to police data.
And while thefts by someone riding an e-scooter aren’t likely to be a claims issue, according to BLM’s director of policy and government affairs Alistair Kinley, “Injuries resulting from muggings/assaults committed on an e-scooter might be more problematic”.
”You could also see arguments that the injuries are due to use of a motor vehicle - the e-scooter - but because it’ll be uninsured, the only potential payer would appear to be the Motor Insurers’ Bureau (which is funded by all motor insurance customers).”
According to the Evening standard, the Met’s chief superintendent Simon Ovens had seized hundreds of e-scooters in a new crackdown warning that muggers are using them instead of cycles and mopeds as they are faster, silent and unregistered.
Kinley agreed with FOIL that some collisions could be “novel”.
He explained: “It will all be very fact-specific. What if the thief on the e-scooter is then hit by a car or bus driver who wasn’t paying proper attention to road conditions?”
Meanwhile, he stressed that “it is still illegal for anyone to ride any e-scooter on UK roads, except for hired scooters within permitted trial areas”.
Kinley said: “With e-scooters likely to be a popular Christmas present this year, the Met Police yesterday published an open letter to retailers to reminding them to make sure customers are fully aware of that.”
The open letter warned of e-scooter risks and cited the fatality of an e-scooter rider on London’s roads and that the police have seen a “year-on-year increase in collisions by those using them”.
One particular risk is speed, the Department for Transport said last month that trial e-scooters will be treated largely like cycles or bikes and be limited to 15.5mph – the same speed as e-bikes.
On another note, if the e-scooter malfunctions while in use, this could cause an issue with liability.
Kinley added: “It’s going to turn on proving the defect, which might be pretty difficult as the manufacturer will have the data and the specialist knowledge. It’s something that could surface in incidents involving legitimately hired e-scooters within the specified areas of the government-authorised trials.”
Tobias Taupitz, chief executive and founder at Laka admits that scooters play an important part in a greener transport method, although he said that guidelines on how to safely integrate them into daily life are “urgently required”.
“Unfortunately, e-scooters are being abused and misused by a very small number of people and we trust relevant authorities will deal with these.
“Previous incidents stress the need for e-scooter riders to take out liability cover, once available when legalised, to protect other road users whilst personal accident cover will help to protect themselves,” he added.
Meanwhile, Paul Williams, chief executive at broker Ripe Thinking revealed that the firm had launched its own e-scooter product, as the rental e-scooter trial continue across the UK.
“We have been focusing on [e-scooter] data from other countries where its up and running already.”
He added that e-scooters differ from other micro-mobility vehicles, for example the speed, as well as the weight of the rider in relation to the power of the motor.