ABI and DVLA research also reveals that 1% of customers don't have a valid driving licence

Around 17% of motor insurance customers are inputting false driving licence information when they apply for cover online, a blind test carried out for the ABI has revealed.

The association asked the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to conduct anonymous checks on insurance customers’ licence details. This showed that one in six had supplied wrong details, such as addresses and previous penalty points and convictions. The test also showed that 1% of those seeking insurance do not even possess a valid driving licence.

Biba technical and corporate affairs executive Graeme Trudgill said: “Whether customers were being deliberately dishonest or not, the scale of the failure to supply accurate details is bound to have an impact on honest motorists’ premiums.”

The ABI obtained the figures as part of an industry-wide initiative to secure greater access to driving licence data for insurers.

Under the proposal, customers would no longer input their driving record details themselves when seeking quotes, but would merely provide a licence number instead. The insurer would then be able to obtain the customer’s full driving records before supplying a quote.

Aviva UK insurance motor underwriting manager Nigel Bartram said that access to driving licence information would cut down on potential fraud and hence result in lower premiums for the overwhelming majority of honest customers.

He said the issue would become more pressing when it becomes an offence to keep an uninsured vehicle next year. “This is a key part of the jigsaw, and it’s important to keep it moving,” said Bartram, who advises the ABI’s motor committee.

But progress on the initiative has slowed down since the change of government in May.

Trudgill said that he would be pressing junior transport minister Mark Penning, who oversees the DVLA, to give the go-ahead for the project when they meet in a month’s time.

The news of the initiative emerged in the same week that Swiftcover announced a move to automatically check the claims histories of motor insurance applicants.

It says that around 10% of applicants for Swiftcover insurance do not disclose all of their previous claims and that 60% of those customers do not renew their policies.