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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    House Document No. 20

    Document Title
    The Uninsured Motorist Situation in Virginia

    Department of Motor Vehicles

    Enabling Authority
    HJR 230 (Regular Session, 1987)

    Executive Summary
    The Department of Motor Vehicles initiated legislation in 1986 to refocus our insurance monitoring efforts. Two insurance monitoring processes were recommended for elimination. These processes were extremely labor intensive and relatively ineffective. The elimination of the requirements for citizens to submit accident reports and for insurance companies to submit notification of cancelled insurance enabled DMV to channel its resources toward more effective insurance monitoring processes. The legislation was passed, and new insurance monitoring processes were implemented in July 1986. The focus of our insurance monitoring efforts now seek to identify uninsured motorists prior to potential involvement in an accident or cancellation of liability insurance.

    During the 1987 session of the General Assembly, House Joint Resolution 230 was passed. The resolution requires DMV to report annually to the General Assembly on the uninsured motorist situation in Virginia and the Department's efforts to improve it. The uninsured motorist situation includes information on the effectiveness of Virginia's motor vehicle insurance laws, education of the public to assist in understanding that payment of the uninsured motorist fee does not provide insurance coverage and efforts to reduce the number of uninsured motorists on the road.

    The Financial Responsibility Division administers the insurance monitoring processes for DMV. There are five processes, four of which identify potential uninsured motorists prior to their involvement in an accident. The fifth process allows insurance information to be sought following an accident where it is believed the other party was uninsured.

    The implementation of the insurance monitoring processes in 1986 has had a number of benefits. One benefit is that citizens are no longer required to file an accident report with DMV. This has decreased the public's burden of obtaining, completing and filing forms. Additionally, these processes have decreased DMV's manpower requirements to process accident reports. The elimination of the requirement for insurance companies to report cancelled policies has relieved a burden for insurance companies as well as DMV staff to cross check cancellation of one policy and the possible issuance of another. Most policies were renewed with other carriers so that DMV and insurance companies were handling thousands of notices with very little positive results.

    In addition to the insurance monitoring processes presented here, it is important to include the process which supports insurance monitoring by overseeing that persons found to have violated the law, comply with the penalties. Once a driver has been identified as having no insurance, he/she must comply with the order of suspension of his/her driving and vehicle registration privileges. Compliance includes payment of a $300 penalty fee and maintenance of a certified insurance policy for three years. The requirement to maintain proof of insurance allows DMV to ensure that these individuals do, in fact, have liability insurance. During the three-year period, insurance companies cooperate with DMV by notifying us if an individual cancels his/her insurance.