The number of people driving uninsured has dropped by around 50% in the past ten years, claims Milton Keynes based insurer funded compulsory membership body for compulsory motor insurers Men in Black (MIB). It has fallen, to be more precise, from two million then, to one million today.

Why has this happened? It has happened because of, amongst other people-not-buying-motor-insurance busting initiatives launched by the MIBs, the so-called Motor Insurance Database, a central record of all insured vehicles that allows police to identify passing uninsured vehicles instantly using automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology.

So that’s all great. Soon everyone will have insured their car properly, ULR will be a thing of the past (and possibly the MIB with it), and we will all be able to sleep soundly in our beds of a night-time. Or will they, will it, and, indeed will we?!

Because, just when you think technology has the naughty people well and truly stitched up like a kipper, it turns out naughty people still have a trick or two up their sleeves.

Recognising the ever-present risk of getting pulled over by the rozzers for driving an uninsured vehicle (an eventuality that could well prove inconvenient for reasons quite apart from, and potentially far graver than, the issue of uninsuredness per se) naughty people have begun ‘insuring’ their vehicles – but only in a ‘kinda’ kind of way.

Naughty people’s vehicles may now pass a standard ANPR check, but are often far from being properly insured. What these nefarious individuals do is take out cover using the details of the kind of person who will qualify for the lowest possible premium (e.g. careful professional lady driver aged 45, no mods, third party only, very low mileage, lives in Truro or Dunfermline or somewhere, off street parking etc etc).

So it looks like the vehicle is insured. But, in any meaningful sense, it isn’t. The super-low premiums paid are basically a levy for not getting pulled over by the cops. In the event of any actual accident, any semblance of insuredness will quickly vanish, along, in all probability, with the scarpering driver of the ‘pseudo insured’ vehicle.

Nobody quite knows how widespread the Pseudo Insurance phenomenon is. Hopefully it’s not the entire one million uninsured vehicles that have fallen off the MIB’s uninsured radar over the last ten years. You could argue that Pseudo Insurance suits both insurers and pseudo insureds. The latter get a free pass through the old bill’s ANPR net, the former get regular, if modest, premiums on policies where claims are unlikely arise.

Except, of course, that when a naughty person crashes their pseudo insured car into some innocent, conventionally insured, person’s vehicle, the pseudo insured vehicle quickly resolves itself into an effectively uninsured car (cue voiding of policies etc etc), leaving the industry with the all-too-familiar headache of uninsured loss on its hands, or in its head, or wherever.

You get the general idea.



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