Following recent media coverage of delays to insurance pay-outs due to the new National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) and Association of British Insurers (ABI) data-sharing agreement, we have received an important clarification we believe needs to be disseminated to all constabularies and insurers.
The NPCC has confirmed in writing to CMA:
“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.”
As widely reported in the vehicle fleet and insurance press, we have seen a sharp rise in theft case resolution times since August. This coincides directly with the new NPCC/ABI National Guidance on Data Sharing coming into force.
The new Guidance is poorly presented, complicating access to crime reports for loss adjusters and non-ABI members. It creates a two-tier system, arbitrarily putting some motor policyholders at a disadvantage. Worse still, it is being misinterpreted by some constabularies, who use it as grounds to refuse perfectly reasonable requests for information. This results in unnecessary delays, heaping further misery on the innocent victims of vehicle crime. Since the introduction of the new process, we have waited up to 4 months to receive a report.
To be clear, we act for both ABI members and non-members, so our interest in this is for the greater good. We need to quickly correct these unintended consequences. While we welcome the NPCC clarification, we also repeat our plea to urgently revise this Guidance, possibly by temporarily reverting to the previous 2014 text.
Arguing that non-ABI members have less robust privacy and protection standards is incorrect. Aside of the ICO, the Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA), promotes the safety and soundness of insurers, and the protection of policyholders and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) regulates how these firms behave, as well as more broadly the integrity of the UK’s financial markets. Insurers require exacting standards from us both with regard to our consideration of policyholders to our IT/DPA arrangements. There is no reason for a constabulary to have concerns about information management.
The goal must surely be:
2.2.2 To offer support to victims of crime within our communities by expediting the finalisation of their insurance claim.
Given the rise in car thefts, and plummeting recovery rates, we suggest an industry-wide Memorandum of Understanding specific to vehicles would be a superior solution for all involved – the police, insurers, adjusters such as ourselves and, most importantly, consumers. It appears to have escaped many that vehicles are an unusual item of property from a theft perspective and there are many aspects the police appear to misunderstand.
In simple terms, if the police are unable to reunite a victim with their vehicle (undamaged) and put an end to the owner’s inconvenience, distress and financial hardship, why prevent those who can from doing so?