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The use of vehicles in acts of terrorism is nothing new, however recent years have seen a change in tactics with a number of attacks involving vehicles being deliberately driven into people.
In the UK victims of terrorist attacks can apply for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. But where a vehicle has been used would the insurance company that covered that vehicle also be liable to pay compensation?
Where a vehicle has been deliberately driven into someone in a terrorist attack the short answer is yes.
In some ways this could be seen as providing terrorists with insurance for the consequences of deliberate criminal acts, on the other hand there is a need to provide the innocent victims of motorists who would otherwise be uninsured with adequate compensation for their losses.
All motor insurers in the UK are required to be members of the Motor Insurers Bureau (MIB). The MIB operates the UK scheme for compensating the victims of accidents involving uninsured drivers. As members insurance companies are required to deal with, and pay from their own funds, certain cases that would otherwise be classed as uninsured.
Currently such terrorism related claims would be handled and funded by the individual insurers of the vehicle involved in the act of terrorism. However following a consultation earlier this year all third party motor claims involving terrorists driving vehicles that injure or kill people on or after 1st January 2019 will be dealt with directly by the MIB and funded by a levy on the industry. This should simplify matters for the victims of such attacks.
As is currently the case, not all terrorist attacks involving vehicles would fall under this scheme. A key feature of whether or not a specific incident would be covered is the use of the vehicle and how consistent it was with the normal function of a vehicle. As such driving a vehicle into a crowd would be consistent with normal use, but parking a vehicle full of explosives and remotely detonating a bomb would not.
More information on the legal aspects of this can be found in the consultation documents on the MIB’s website at: https://www.mib.org.uk/media-centre/news/2018/february/mib-members-consultation-motor-insurance-terrorism-liabilities/
You can find out more about the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority on the Gov.UK website at:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/compensation-for-victims-of-terrorist-attacks/compensation-for-victims-of-terrorist-attacks