In recent years, we have reported on the threat posed by the so-called ‘Vnuk’ judgement by the European Court of Justice (CJEU). We had hoped that moves in Brussels to amend the Motor Insurance Directive (MID) would see exemptions granted to motor and motorcycle sport. But recent proposals to amend the MID have seen the European Commission do a 180 degree U-turn and Vnuk is now in danger of become a serious reality.
The UK government, along with sports bodies and industry, lobbied the European Commission to change the legislation so that motorsport would be exempt. We were helped by insurance bodies such as BIBA and the ABI, who stated that insuring motorsport in the same way as normal road use would be extremely expensive (particularly for vehicle to vehicle collisions on the track), that such a policy would not be commercially viable, and no underwriter would want to enter this market. The UK Government also supports our position on the matter.
The European Commission held two more consultations on the issue during 2017. The responses to both were overwhelmingly in favour of the EU exempting motorsport from mandatory insurance requirements.
The detail of this proposal was to include a definition of the ‘use of a vehicle’ which included all use of a vehicle on all terrains, whether moving or stationary.
We now have a short window of opportunity to stop the threat of Vnuk becoming reality. The AMCA along with the ACU and the MCIA are already working hard to ensure that our European counterparts lobby their governments and members of the European Parliament (EP). The objective is to get the European Parliament to amend the European Commission proposals, so that motor and motorcycle sports are removed from the scope of the Directive. But it’s vital that other EU governments are also brought on side, given that the EP vote will only be advisory and not binding on the Commission.
Given the current state of the Brexit negotiations, we cannot look to Brexit to solve this problem for us, as European directives may still apply to motor insurance after the UK leaves the EU. In any case, this is a European problem, not just a UK matter. Irrespective of the UK’s place in the future, we will do what we can to support our European colleagues and friends in their endeavours to save motor and motorcycle sport.