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Brussels, 6 April 2006

Internal Market: Commission consults on motor insurance issues

The European Commission has launched a public online consultation on two issues related to motor insurance – the effectiveness of claims representatives in settling claims, and insurance cover for legal expenses. Replies will be taken into account in a forthcoming Commission report to the European Parliament and Council. The consultation is open until 5 June 2006 and available at:

Internal Market and Services Commissioner Charlie McCreevy said: “Europeans must be able to use their cars in other Member States as they would at home – confident that they have adequate insurance coverage and that any claim will be dealt with quickly and efficiently. We want people with direct experience of these two issues to tell us how well the systems we have put in place work in practice. We will listen to your views.”

One of the aims of the Fourth Motor Insurance Directive (Directive 2000/26/EC) is to enable ‘visiting victims’ (people who have been injured or suffered damages outside their Member State of residence) to get faster compensation in their Member State of residence. Under Article 4 of this Directive, motor insurance companies have had to appoint claims representatives in each Member State, apart from the one in which they are authorised to conduct insurance business. This means visiting victims can address their claims to the claims representative of their Member State of residence and do not need to contact directly the insurer of the liable person in the Member State where the accident occurred. The Commission is examining the effectiveness of this mechanism.

During the preparation of the Fifth Motor Insurance Directive, the European Parliament raised some questions related to the insurance cover for legal expenses. In particular, these questions concerned the availability of this insurance on a voluntary basis, and the impact, in terms of the cost of premiums, of including insurance cover for the victim's legal expenses in the compulsory third-party liability motor insurance to be taken out by the party at fault. The Commission agreed to examine these questions and they are also included in the consultation.

The consultation is targeted at EU citizens and all other interested parties, such as lawyers and insurers.
To make it as quick and easy as possible to respond, the Commission is using its Interactive Policy Making (IPM) tool, which aims to improve governance by creating web-based questionnaires for collecting and analysing reactions. The consultation is open until 5 June 2006. It can be accessed via the Commission's “Your Voice in Europe” website, which is the “one-stop shop” for all Commission consultations and their results:

A summary of results will appear on this website after the close of the consultation. All replies will be taken into account in preparation of a report, which will be presented to the European Parliament and Council.
For the full text of the Fourth and the Fifth Directives and for more information on motor insurance in the Internal Market, see:

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