Claim against MIB can proceed despite claimant’s failure to report third party to police.
On 8 January 2006 a car driven by Mr Shapoor was involved in a collision with a car owned by Promo Designs and driven by Mr Anwar. At the scene of the accident Mr Anwar stated that he was insured by Direct Line. Within a month of the accident Mr Shapoor consulted solicitors who ascertained that Direct Line did not insure the vehicle. They spoke to Mr Anwar who said that he did not have insurance. On receiving this information Mr Shapoor did not make any formal complaint to the police. It was submitted on behalf of the MIB that as a result he had breached clause 13 of the Uninsured Driver Agreement 1999 which states that “MIB shall incur no liability under MIB’s obligation unless the claimant has as soon as reasonably practicable: (a) demanded the information and, where appropriate, the particulars specified in section 154(1) of the 1988 Act, and (b) where the person of whom the demand is made fails to comply with the provisions of that subsection – (i) made a formal complaint to a police officer in respect of such failure…”
Held: The obligations of a claimant who wishes to take advantage of the Uninsured Driver Agreement 1999 are clear and straightforward. In accordance with the provisions of clause 13, he must as soon as reasonably practicable request from the third party the particulars specified in section 154(1). The first question is “Are you insured?”, to which the answer is either “Yes” or “No”. If the third party fails to give one of these two answers within a reasonable time, he has failed to comply and the claimant must then make a formal complaint to the police. If the answer is “Yes”, the third party must provide particulars of his insurance. If he fails to do so within a reasonable period of time or gives false particulars he has again failed to comply and the claimant must make a complaint to the police. But if the third party initially gives incomplete or inaccurate information he has not lost his chance to comply by subsequently saying within a reasonable time “I am not insured”. Accordingly in this case Mr Shapoor was under no obligation to report Mr Anwar to the police and had not lost his entitlement to claim against the MIB.
Comment: Although this point is frequently taken by the MIB, as far as we are aware there has not been a reported decision on this issue. Following this case it is clear that where the third party has initially given inaccurate information to the claimant, the claimant does not breach the Uninsured Driver Agreement 1999 by failing to make a formal complaint to the police. The obligation to make a complaint to the police only arises where the third party has refused to give their details or has failed to respond to a request for these.