Thursday, 24 November 2022

The Motor Insurers’ Bureau of Ireland (MIBI) has secured over 330 recovery judgments against uninsured drivers over the last 5 years. Thanks to those judgments the Bureau has also been able to recover more than €1.8 million from the uninsured drivers who were responsible for road traffic accidents.

The role of the MIBI is to compensate the victims of road traffic accidents caused by uninsured or unidentified vehicles. This is our responsibility and it is a role we take great care in fulfilling.

However the law also allows the MIBI to pursue the uninsured driver who was responsible for such an accident. Under the Road Traffic Act 2014, the MIBI has the power of recovery. This allows us to take action against the uninsured driver with a view to securing recovery to the full value of the costs associated with that accident.

As a not-for-profit making organisation, every Euro paid out by the MIBI comes from the insurance companies underwriting motor insurance in Ireland. These companies pay a levy to the MIBI, based on their market share. Effectively this means that all the compensation paid for by the MIBI is collected, indirectly, from the law abiding motor insurance policyholders of Ireland. We estimate this adds approximately €30 – €35 to the average motor insurance policy in this country each year.

That is why we believe it is imperative that the MIBI does everything in our power to ensure those uninsured drivers who broke the law and were responsible for an accident should be held responsible for their actions.

That was the principle behind the creation of our Holding To Account strategy which has now been operating successfully since 2018.

Under this strategy we review every claim that we made a payment towards, with the recovery process beginning as soon as the final payment to the claimant is made. Each claim is thoroughly assessed and reviewed with a view to pursuing the uninsured motorist involved for recovery of our costs.

Any information and documentation required is obtained from the relevant parties. The MIBI has engaged a number of solicitors who act as ‘recovery agents’ on behalf of the MIBI. Once the MIBI’s internal review of the claim is complete, the file is then passed to one of the recovery agents and action to recovery our costs commence.

Initially the recovery agent will send a demand letter to the uninsured driver seeking reimbursement of the MIBI’s costs. If no settlement is offered, then we will issue legal proceedings against the uninsured driver in question.

A court judgment is obtained against the uninsured driver which equates to the full value of the MIBI’s costs in that specific claim. As mentioned at the beginning of this piece, over the last few years we have been able to secure a total of 339 judgments in cases.

When enforcing the judgment the MIBI has a range of options available to ensure we receive repayment of the money we are due.
These include:

  • Having the sheriff instructed to recover the debt from the uninsured driver.
  • Obtaining an instalment order which will see the uninsured motorist compelled to pay the debt back in instalments.
  • Securing a judgment mortgage against the offender’s property – which could lead to the forced sale of the property.
  • Obtaining a committal order which would lead to the uninsured driver being arrested and potentially imprisoned.
  • Obtaining a Garnishee order which allows the MIBI to secure its debt against any other settlements that the uninsured driver may obtain.
  • Filing for bankruptcy against the driver.

Since adopting our Holding to Account strategy, the MIBI has seen considerable success in this area and we intend to step-up our activities in this space over the coming years.

To that end we have now published a refreshed version of our recovery strategy which updates the details and provides further context around how this process is managed and enforced.

Driving without insurance is against the law. By exercising our right to recovery we want uninsured drivers to know that they won’t just face criminal proceedings but they could also be subjected to refunding the full cost of any accidents for which they are responsible. We will do everything we can to hold them to account.

The revised strategy can be viewed by clicking here: Holding to Account