The main thrust of the DOC debate seems to be that different insurers will be offering different levels of cover, including or excluding DOC cover, or even different levels of DOC cover.

This is clearly not good for the market and will cause considerable confusion for consumers.

As a 'claims man', I may have a somewhat jaded view of this issue. However, I cannot ever recall seeing a claim where someone was using the DOC cover in an emergency.

What I see very frequently is DOC cover being (ab)used to drive vehicles belonging to family and friends of the policyholder on an everyday basis.

Obviously, it is far cheaper than the policyholder paying to be added as a named driver to the other policies.

Roy Rodger puts forward an example of DOC cover being used to test drive a vehicle that the policyholder may wish to purchase.

Given that DOC provides third party only cover, what happens if the policyholder is unfortunate enough to be involved in an accident? Does the policyholder pay the owner of the vehicle for the repairs? This is simply another example of DOC cover being used inappropriately.

DOC cover was introduced to provide for emergency situations. That it is now considered, by policyholders at least, to extend far beyond that, is not in doubt. That is the root cause of the problem.

Insurers are seen to be trying to remove a broad benefit when, in reality, the benefit is meant to have extremely limited usage.

What is needed is a uniform approach across the market, that is, the whole market either removes DOC cover or agrees on when and in what form the DOC cover will operate.

Personally, I prefer the former option, as does Professor Greenaway of course.

If the industry cannot agree an approach on an issue as relatively uncomplicated as this, what hope is there for us?

Chris Manley
Claims manager
Norwich Union
Technical Claims Services