The European Parliament and the Council on 24 November 2021 adopted the Directive (EU) 2021/2118 aiming to modernise and amend the Directive 2009/103/EC relating to insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles, and the enforcement of the obligation to insure against such liability.
Based on these developments, it is necessary to amend the Motor Vehicles and Road Traffic Law of 1972 (86/1972) in order to bring the Republic of Cyprus into compliance with this Directive and to modernise the issues concerning liability for accidents caused by insured or uninsured vehicles to meet modern realities.
Τhe Directive 2021/2118 in its preamble recognises that insurance against civil liability in respect of the use of motor vehicles (‘motor insurance’) is of special importance for
European citizens, whether they are policyholders or could become injured parties as a result of an accident. It is also a major concern for insurance undertakings, as it constitutes an important segment of the ‘non-life’ insurance market in the Union. Motor insurance also has a significant impact on the free movement of persons, goods and vehicles, and hence on the internal market.
Directive 2021/2118 introduced changes in many areas, both substantive and non-substantive, to the current regime of compulsory insurance against civil liability in the event of car accidents. These amendments stem from the evaluation of the functioning of the Directive 2009/103/EC including its efficiency, effectiveness and coherence with other Union policies, carried out by the Commission in 2017 following public consultation. The conclusion of the evaluation was that Directive 2009/103/EC functions well on the whole and does not need amendment in most aspects.
However, four areas were identified in respect of which targeted amendments would be appropriate: compensation of parties injured as a result of accidents where the insurance undertaking concerned is insolvent, minimum obligatory amounts of insurance cover, insurance checks of vehicles by Member States, and the use of policyholders’ claims-history statements by a new insurance undertaking. National legislation will need to be appropriately amended to comply with the changes brought about by the Directive in these four areas.
Furthermore, the clarity of Directive 2009/103 enhanced by replacing the term ‘victim’, which is used in that Directive as a synonym of ‘injured party’, by the term ‘injured party’ or ‘party injured’, as appropriate. This terminology should also be incorporated into the interpretative Article 2 of national legislation in order to harmonise the terminology used in all Member States in accordance with the Directive.
In addition, provided that since the entry into force of Directive 2009/103/EC, many new types of motor-powered vehicles have come onto the market, such as electric or hybrid vehicles, they should also be taken into account in defining the meaning of ‘vehicle’ under the national law.
By Cleopatra Khattab