The issue of road safety, along with flooding and whiplash, has been at the top of the agenda when it comes to the insurance industry’s engagement with politicians.
Today I took part in the latest discussion on the subject at an event put together by the Parliament Advisory for Transport Safety and Direct Line Group which was initially supposed to be attended by Stephen Hammond MP, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport.
Unfortunately, as is often the case with MPs and their busy diaries, Stephen cancelled at the last minute and was ably replaced by the deputy director at Department for Transport Jessica Matthew.
My initial reaction to Stephen's ‘no show' was that that there would obviously be no announcement on the long anticipated Green Paper on young driver safety.
And this proved to be the case. Indeed, Jessica suggested there could more than a few sticking points as to what the Green Paper will include as it had now been postponed until the "autumn", with the Party Political Conference season likely to delay publication until October.
Although a number of attendees tried to get to the crux of the main obstacles, following on from March when the Green Paper was first touted, Jessica stuck to her guns and revealed little.
In the same session the delegates heard from Iain Greenway, director of road safety and vehicle regulation division, Northern Ireland, who gave an update on the situation across the Irish sea.
Northern Ireland used to have a terrible image with UK insurers, with some deciding to not quote for drivers who lived in the country.
This is changing, and Iain highlighted how Northern Ireland is now ahead of the rest of the UK, with a Bill going through the legislature which will bring into force similar rules to those that the industry hope will be included in the Green Paper.
Namely a one year mandatory learning driving period, with drivers beginning at 16.5; and drivers under 24 only being able to carry one passenger under 20 for the initial period after they have passed their test.
Interestingly one proposal that did not make it into the Bill - and something taht divided insurers and brokers here - was the idea of a curfew, which was considered difficult to enforce given the rural nature of great swathes of the country.
We will now have to wait and see what is included in the DfT green paper when it appears, especially whether the proposal for a Graduated Driving License - makes the cut.
Talking of making the cut, I hope that everyone who attended the annual Claims Club dinner and Claims Awards last week enjoyed themselves. I thought Martin Bayfield was a great host and compere for the evening. The only shame was that Nick Gunter - who was a worthy winner - could not attend to pick up his CII Claims Faculty Achievement prize in person.
Speaking of the Claims Club, I hope you take some time out to visit the members section because we have started including some new viewpoint pieces that get under the skin of some of the hottest topics of the day. The first two live articles tackle fees for intervention and the difference between property claims north and south of the border.
Finally, we have confirmed our line up for the next Claims Club meeting in September with a session on technology implementation in claims departments and a legal update on health and safety and fatal claims awards.
Otherwise, all that is left for me to say is that I hope to see many of you at the British Insurance Awards on 3 July when I will no doubt have the pleasure of being called "Swifty" all night again by our host.
Jonathan "Swifty" Swift,
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