Concerns raised over insurers’ use of driver data
When the DVLA announced in 2014 that the insurance industry would have access to driver data held by them, the aim was to allow insurers to catch fraudsters who provide false information to obtain lower premiums.
The MyLicence project has already proven a success, with 212,000 drivers caught lying on their insurance application forms in the last year, according to the Department for Transport. But concerns have been raised recently about possible misuse of the data by some insurers.
Penalty points drop off a driver’s licence after 4 years, but become officially “spent” after 5 years under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.
Insurers can see both spent and current convictions on a driver’s record, but they are banned from taking spent convictions into account when processing a driver’s application for insurance. However, experts fear that some companies may wrongly allow their knowledge of a spent conviction to increase a driver’s premium or reject their application.
Chris Stacey, of campaign group Unlock, told the Telegraph, “”Now this data is being shared, we are trusting companies to effectively ignore details.”
Byron Shepherd is responsible for the technology and data held on the MyLicence database. He said, “Insurers need to be clearer on the law and their right to see old convictions. The Rehabilitation of Offenders’ Act is a key area where the industry needed a bit of clarification.
“The data we give to insurers includes when penalty points fall off the licence, and when they become spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act.”
The Association of British Insurers has dismissed suggestions that insurers are breaking the law.
The new process is called IIADD and it stands for Insurance Industry Access to Drivers’ Data.
Car insurance has always been calculated on the basis of risk; drivers with penalty points or driving convictions pose a considerably higher risk and it is common knowledge that such drivers are likely to pay more for their car insurance.
Unfortunately, not declaring this vital information to your insurer can invalidate your insurance, leaving you and other drivers unprotected in the event of an accident. This kind of fraud impacts road safety and drives up the cost of car insurance for honest motorists.
Drivers can check their own details online, finding out the vehicles they’re allowed to drive, penalty points and disqualifications, plus information about both current and unexpired convictions.
Helping motorists keep track of this information will cut down on situations where they accidentally omit essential information when obtaining quotes for car insurance. And some motorists are unaware that an old conviction has become spent, so checking their details will also cut down on them “over-declaring” old offences.
Insure Your Motor specialises in providing cover for drivers with penalty points and convictions.