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EU ministers agree on new motor insurance Directives

EU ministers have set a new minimum motor insurance amount for personal injuries of one million euros per victim, plus an option for Member States to apply a minimum amount of €5 million per accident, as requested by the European Parliament.

The European Commission has welcomed the Council of Ministers' political agreement on the proposed Fifth Motor Insurance Directive on November 27th. The proposed Directive would update current EU Motor Insurance Directives by making it easier for drivers to get insurance and by upgrading the protection of victims.

The political agreement must now be formally adopted by the Council of Ministers; then it will return to the European Parliament for a second reading.

The political agreement sets a new minimum insurance amount for personal injuries of €1 million per victim, plus an option for Member States to apply a minimum amount of €5 million per accident (as requested by the European Parliament). For damage to property, the agreement sets a minimum amount of €1 million per accident, to come into force after a transitional period of five years.

Under the political agreement, pedestrians and cyclists would be designated as specific categories of accident victims. It stipulates that motor vehicle insurance would have to cover personal injuries suffered by pedestrians and cyclists and other non-motorised users of the roads who, as a consequence of an accident in which a motor vehicle is involved, were entitled to compensation in accordance with national civil law.

The Commission had indicated after the European Parliament adopted its opinion at first reading, in October 2003, that it could also accept some amendments on issues such as the improvement of the protection of victims of accidents caused by unidentified vehicles and the conditions under which statements relating to their claims record are provided to policy-holders in order to make it easier to change insurer. The Council's political agreement broadly retains these amendments.

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