Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2008-09-01-Speech-1-212"

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"Mr President, on behalf of my colleague Commissioner Charlie McCreevy, let me first of all congratulate the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and the Legal Affairs Committee, and in particular Mr Mladenov and Mr Gargani, for their work in producing a thorough and consistent report on a number of specific motor insurance issues. I am pleased to see that your report reflects some of these concerns and that it gives preference to market-led solutions, such as the use of voluntary legal expenses insurance. It seems to be evident, though, that in some markets this type of insurance cover is hardly used, and that better promotion is needed. This is a mission the market should accomplish itself, as the Commission should not promote particular insurance products or particular lines of insurance business. Finally, let me address the issue of the awareness of tools and mechanisms under the EU motor insurance directives. The Commission agrees that there is room for improvement, especially in relation to the new Member States, as regards the degree of citizens’ awareness of the tools created by the EU motor insurance directives, such as the claims representative mechanism or the existence of national information centres. The insurance industry can and should play a major role in this area. The Commission has contributed to the information need of both traffic accident victims and motorists through the publication of a number of motor insurance leaflets placed on the ‘Your Europe’ portal. Many other information sources exist at national level, such as automobile clubs, motor insurance bureaux, claims settlement agencies and others. In conclusion: Over the last years, regular reporting to the European Parliament on motor insurance issues has become a well-established practice and I am looking forward to our continued good cooperation. Mr Mladenov, I cannot agree more with you that this is also a consumer issue. The Commission welcomes your support for the conclusions we draw in our Motor Insurance report of 2007. Allow me to address briefly some issues covered in this report. Let me start with national penalties introduced in respect of the reasoned offer procedure. The Commission welcomes the clear position you have taken in the report on this issue. Indeed, your report seems to confirm our stance on the matter, namely that national penalty provisions, although not equivalent, produce the desired effect and therefore no harmonisation at EU level is needed in this respect. The Commission will stay vigilant and take steps, if necessary, against those Member States which do not fully comply with the Directive’s provisions in question. Therefore we can only welcome your call upon the Commission to further closely monitor the functioning of the mechanism introduced by the EU motor insurance Directives. The motor insurance expert group, set up by my services a year ago, brings Member States’ representatives and stakeholders together and has proven to be a very useful tool to this end. In line with your suggestion, the Commission will involve consumer organisations representing traffic accident victims in the process of assessing the effectiveness of the systems existing in the Member States. Let me now turn to a second point: the legal expenses, which are very important for the consumers and for insurers as well. Your report considers several pros and cons of a system where legal expenses would be compulsorily covered, EU-wide, by the motor insurance policy of the liable party. As stated in the Commission report of 2007, we are convinced that such a solution would be very unlikely to provide clear benefits for road traffic accident victims; it might even lead to a distortion of well-established national systems of motor claims settlement. In addition, premiums are likely to increase in those countries where either no or limited reimbursement of legal costs has been the practice so far."@en1

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