Car theft victims frequently wait more than seven days longer for insurance payouts due to the new National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Association of British Insurers (ABI) data-sharing agreement.
Analysis saw a sharp rise in theft case resolution times during the fourth quarter of 2022, following the introduction of the latest NPCC/ABI National Guidance on Data Sharing in August (dated 06/2022)
After 20 years of seamless working, a crime report can no longer be sent to a loss adjuster acting on behalf of an insurer, only directly to the insurer. This added bureaucracy helps no one.
To make matters worse, most constabularies still send this information by snail mail. Claims handlers at insurance companies then have to forward it on, either electronically or, again, by post. No wonder we’re seeing delays! Thankfully some constabularies appear to understand this is not the best guidance and continue to deal with us directly. There are other workarounds too, but these require more time-consuming consent paperwork. It is all so unnecessary and problematic, especially for suspected fraud when time is of the essence.
Vehicle theft is a traumatic event, so efficient resolution is key. But the latest Guidance actively exacerbates the inconvenience. We urge the ABI and NPCC to uphold the spirit of section 2.2.2 – a commitment:
‘To offer support to victims of crime within our communities by expediting the finalisation of their insurance claim’
by urgently revising the wording, possibly even reverting to the previous 2014 text. More broadly, I urge all interested parties – the police and all insurance professionals (both ABI members and non-members) – to adopt a more joined-up approach to vehicle crime.
There appears to be merit in separate guidance for vehicle theft. What other property sees:
- a register of the keeper (commonly the owner) and date of acquisition that holds
- insurer details held by the police against a VRM
- a stolen marker set against the mark/VIN – accessible to the public
- tax and condition (MoT) data online
- a legal requirement to have a policy (if on the road)
Is it really that difficult for consent from the insured, presented to a constabulary, to be considered in relation to the above and for there to be an understanding the request is legitimate?
A vehicle is generally acquired because it is a necessity; school runs, commuting or work itself. Why prolong the absence?
Our Freedom of Information Act (FoIA) request led to the Home Office admitting 101,198 vehicles were stolen in England and Wales in 2021, double the reported 48,000. We estimate this crime alone is now costing UK insurers over £1.5 billion a year. The police are stretched, stolen car recovery rates are through the floor, and it increasingly falls to specialists like ourselves to investigate matters. To verify claims, we do not simply accept that a vehicle is recorded as lost or stolen (LoS) on the Police National Computer (PNC). We thoroughly check the vehicle registration mark (VRM) against multiple data sources, including Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) records, for which we hold the highest possible classification for data management and security.
If the police are unable to find a stolen vehicle (and recovery rates have plummeted), if a constabulary cannot alleviate the victim’s (insured’s) situation by placing them back in the position they were immediately before the loss, who will? The answer is ‘an insurer’ … why are victims of crime, on occasions, then victims of a convoluted process?
See the related article at – FleetNews 30/01/2023
15/02/2021 – FoIA request for MoU-related information made to the City of London Police (CoLP)
27/01/2023 – ICO directs the CoLP to address the request – Signed decision notice IC-176104-Y1W3
07/02/2023 – we have sought information about the ABI Data Sharing Agreement Directions & Review