HC Deb 28 July 1965 vol 717 cc458-60
6. Mr. Newens

asked the Minister of Transport if he will consider introducing legislation to lay down a code of conduct by motor insurance companies in meeting claims.

Mr. Swingler

Claims on motor insurers arise under insurance policies which are contracts enforceable at law. We see no need for further legislation on this matter.

Mr. Newens

Does not my hon. Friend recognise that there is widespread discontent among the clients of many insurance companies and those involved in accidents with the clients of many insurance companies at the frustration and delay which they encounter in getting their claims settled? Is there no appropriate action that my hon. Friend can advocate in these circumstances?

Mr. Swingler

If my hon. Friend is concerned about any particular case, I shall be glad to take it up with the motor insurance companies. I am aware that there is frustration, but it is not a matter which we think can be dealt with by legislation.

Mr. Mapp

Is my hon. Friend aware that the position concerning highway liability generally is unsatisfactory? Can he say, in the wider context, whether his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General has any further comment to make to the House about an inquiry, promised some weeks ago, over the wider field?

Mr. Swingler

I am not quite sure to what my hon. Friend is referring. We are, however, at present discussing with the Motor Insurers' Bureau the possibility of changing the law to overcome certain difficulties and anomalies which are well known.

Mr. Tiley

Will the Minister tell his hon. Friend that British insurance companies have a reputation throughout the world for the manner in which they carry out business, and that this is why we do the most insurance business in the world?

Mr. Speaker

I do not think that it is the Minister's responsibility to tell his hon. Friend that.

7. Mr. Newens

asked the Minister of Transport if he will set up an inquiry into the conditions on which motor insurance companies are prepared to allow a no-claim bonus on insurance premiums, with a view to legislation on the subject.

Mr. Swingler

We see no need for the Government to intervene in this matter. Policy conditions, including no-claim bonuses, are a matter of contract, and there is no reason to suppose that legislation to control the present insurance market in this respect is either necessary or desirable.

Mr. Newens

Is my hon. Friend aware that some motor insurance companies do not allow a no-claims bonus to their clients who are involved in an accident in which they are completely innocent? Is my hon. Friend satisfied with this state of affairs? Does not he consider that some action is required to satisfy the needs of the public?

Mr. Swingler

It may be that some action is required by the citizens themselves, but this is a matter of contract between the motorist and the insurance company, and it is not a matter than can be dealt with by legislation.