The method of obtaining a police report from constabularies changed in 2022, the National Police Chief’s Council issued new guidance (ABI-NPCC_Data_Sharing_Guidance_v2-2) which was effective as of June 2022, but appears not to have been disseminated to constabularies until August 2022.
The guidance replaces the 2014 issue (2014 ACPO ABI MoU) to be reviewed in 2016. We understand the review commenced in 2015 but took some 7 years to finalise! Yet the output, the current MoU, appears to have been hurriedly compiled. From an administration perspective, the major changes are:
- reports will no longer be supplied to those acting for insurers but only to insurers themselves.
This is causing delays. Many insurers use loss adjusters to undertake interviews and conduct enquiries. It is often upon their findings to recommendations that police reports are requested. The approach for the report would be made by the adjuster, received and checked by them as they had a good understanding of the events. Now, the report will only be sent to the insurer who may then need to send it to the adjuster for reconciliation. Even if this does not occur, where an adjuster makes the approach to the constabulary, they now need to advise their insurer client and it is for the insurer to monitor the disclosure – or return to their adjuster and explain ‘no receipt, please chase’.
One constabulary approached 10/2022, disclosed information 02/2023. Another has yet to provide the information following an application in February…. 2022!
- the MoU is for ABI members only
Non-ABI members are treated differently (see below).
- an insured does not need to consent to the ‘checking’ approach, the D(A) request.
An enhancement that could speed the process, but why? From a ‘comfort’ perspective, how much more sensible for an insured to provide their consent – the process is open-hand, protecting the insured, the insurer, the police and us. We continue to adopt this procedure save where the insured is ‘unavailable’.
But to quote the NPCC (02/2023):
The guidance is merely a formalisation of the process, supported by the relevant aspects of the data protection act, which includes assurances concerning how ABI members maintain security and meet the standards expected of membership.
Any company that is not associated with ABI, i.e. not a member, will not come under their structure. To clarify non-ABI members do not have to operate under the ABI scheme.
However, this does not prevent non-ABI members from data sharing.
When requesting information from police forces, the company simply needs to describe the reasons and purposes for the request for information, including any legal proceedings considerations if appropriate.
Any receiving police force can then assess and decide on whether or not to release the information – in every case it is a local risk decision by the receiving force to consider a voluntary disclosure, there no statutory requirements to disclose.
Use of ‘merely’ and ‘simply’ are noted however, some constabularies appear to believe the guidance is cast in stone.
As for fraud, a constabulary appeared to understand our straightforward arguments, responding:
… you are right that the same principles in respect of fraud should apply to the entire insurance industry.
Why they do not, or should not, when we are not making a request based on a suspicion of fraud, is currently unknown.