Bulletin 30 December 2016
The old act governing motor liability insurance is being abolished in its entirety; it will be replaced with a new law from 1 January 2017 onwards. The aim of the complete reform to make the legislation governing motor liability insurance clearer and less ambiguous than before.
The change does not require any action from consumers. However, it is worth noting that failing to insure your vehicle will bring stiffer penalties in future. It is forbidden to drive an uninsured vehicle, and if such a vehicle is identified in traffic, the police have the power to remove its registration plates.
Also, the penalty premiums for not having insurance will be raised. The size of the penalty fee will be affected by the period of time the vehicle has been uninsured, whether the failure to insure has been deliberate and repeated, as well as whether the vehicle has been driven in traffic. In future, the State Treasury will determine the payments for failing to take out motor liability insurance. On the other hand, the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre will continue to administer the collection of payments.
The new law does not bring any radical changes to the obligation to insure. For consumers, the most significant change is that it is no longer necessary to take out motor liability insurance for vehicles that have been withdrawn from use. In such cases, the insurance must be cancelled separately. If the motor liability insurance has been cancelled, it has to be taken out again before informing Trafi that the vehicle is back on the road. It is, of course, forbidden to drive a car that has been withdrawn from use.
From the beginning of the year, compensation for accidents caused by vehicles exempted from motor liability insurance will move from the State Treasury to the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre. The State Treasury remains responsible for accidents caused by vehicles owned by the Finnish State.
Flexibility in insurance pricing
As before, the law obligates insurance companies to take a person's claims history into account in insurance premiums. However, the new law does give insurance companies more flexibility in taking a customer's insurance and claims history into account.
For example, the claims history of one vehicle can be taken into account in the pricing of more than one vehicle, and the claims histories of a number of vehicles can be taken into account in the pricing of one vehicle's insurance with the same owner. This means that the claims history does not necessarily have to start at zero with each new vehicle.
The Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre (LVK) is the party that ultimately safeguards the rights of a person who has been involved in a road accident and takes care of the consequences of the statutory motor liability insurance. LVK promotes traffic safety by coordinating the work of road accident investigation committees and compiling statistics regarding accidents. LVK has extensive international duties, and its members include all insurance companies that grant motor insurance policies in Finland. www.lvk.fi/en
The Finnish Crash Data Institute (OTI)
In 2015, there were 257 fatal road accidents. The number of motor traffic accidents increased by 35 on the previous year, whereas the number of pedestrian and bicycle accidents remained almost unchanged. Driver-related factors were in the background of the majority (66%) of motor vehicle accidents.
Background risks related to the driver's condition include intoxication, illness, tiredness and factors related to mental state, such as depression or agitation. The background factors do not cause problems as such, but they contribute to their occurrence behind the accidents.
"The number of accidents that took place while the driver was intoxicated increased clearly compared to the previous year. In particular, the number of drivers apparently with substance abuse problems who exceeded the limit of driving while seriously intoxicated increased. In addition to intoxicating substances, drivers' other health problems were common background factors in accidents," says Tapio Koisaari, Liaison Manager at OTI.
Last year, approximately one in four drivers causing a fatal accident in road traffic were driving while intoxicated. In addition, there were 13 road accidents involving pedestrians or cyclists where the cyclist, pedestrian or driver of motor vehicle had a blood alcohol level of at least 0.5 per mille.
In 2015, there were 198 fatal road accidents, in which 222 people died. A total of 51 people were seriously injured. In addition, there were 59 pedestrian and bicycle road accidents, in which 30 pedestrians and 29 cyclists died.
The figures compiled by the Finnish Crash Data Institute (OTI) are based on confirmed data on accidents investigated by the road accident investigation teams last year.
Traffic barriers are a significant safety factor
The consequences of almost one-fourth of fatal accidents could have been less severe, had the site of the accident had median barriers or the barriers been installed better.
"Sometimes the barriers can be too low or short, but the most common problem is that there are no traffic barriers at all, neither median barriers or other. While waiting for new and safer vehicles to become more common, it is important to pay attention to barrier solutions. Barriers could improve traffic safety regardless of the vehicles involved," Koisaari remarks.
The Finnish Crash Data Institute (OTI) works to prevent road accidents in Finland. OTI coordinates the operations of road accident investigation teams and administers the data collected in the investigations, in addition to its other traffic accident statistics. The amount and quality of the statistical data are unique by international standards. OTI provides important information that can be used to improve traffic safety at both legislative and practical levels. The institute operates as an independent unitwithin the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre. www.oti.fi/en/oti
Press release 19.9.2016
The Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre has already been carrying out safety work for decades. In the future, this work will be carried out under the name of the Finnish Crash Data Institute (OTI), which is more descriptive of the work we do.
The purpose of the reform is to streamline operations and to facilitate the utilisation of the date produced by the institute by various stakeholders. Previously, safety work has been carried out under the names of the Traffic Safety Committee of Insurance Companies (VALT), the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre and Traffic Safety Unit.
In practice, OTI is a separate eight-person unit within the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre. The majority of the employees are road safety investigators.
The institute has at its disposal not only the information about fatal accidents received from road accident investigation teams but also statistics of the approx. 100,000 annual road accidents received from insurance companies. OTI's information service is capable of extracting from the system extremely comprehensive and diverse information for decision-makers, researchers and the media, etc. free of charge. This information can be used for improving traffic safety at the level of legislation and practical measures.
OTI publishes a number of reports on the accidents investigated by road accident investigation teams, as well as annual road accident statistics every year. The accident statistics are Finland's largest road accident statistics. This information was previously published under the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre or VALT.
OTI engages in close collaboration with other Finnish organisations and international partners.
The Finnish Crash Data Institute (OTI) works to prevent road accidents in Finland. OTI coordinates the operations of road accident investigation teams and administers the data collected in the investigations, in addition to its other traffic accident statistics. The amount and quality of the statistical data are unique by international standards. OTI provides important information that can be used to improve traffic safety at both legislative and practical levels. The institute operates as an independent unitwithin the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre.
The Insurance Centre organisations will move from Bulevardi to new office premises in Ruoholahti in June. The address of the Motor Insurers' Centre, Patient Insurance Centre, Environmental Insurance Centre and Pharmaceutical Insurance Pool will be Itämerenkatu 11-13, 00180 Helsinki, Finland. The phone numbers and e-mail addresses will remain unchanged.
In addition to the Insurance Centre, all other organisations in the current Finance and Insurance Building (the Finnish Workers' Compensation Centre, the Federation of Finnish Financial Services and Finva) will also move to the same address.
Additional information:Service Manager Raino Räsänen, tel. +358 40 450 4644raino.rasanen(@)vakuutuskeskus.fi
Sad farewell to Bulevardi that accommodated the Insurance Centre for half a century
For decades, the esteemed Bulevardi 28 is a familiar address for operators in the financial and insurance sector. The then Finnish Motor Insurers' Bureau moved to the address at the turn of the 50s and 60s. The moving distance from Bulevardi 10 was short.
The renewal of the lease expiring during 2016 and the continuation of operations in the current office premises would have called for extensive renovation, for the duration of which it would have been necessary to move to interim premises.
“The premises in Bulevardi have served us well for decades, and we have strong emotional ties to our long-time office building. However, we will now be able to move into an entirely new kind of modern facilities, in the planning of which our personnel played an important part. I am certain that the single-storey, bright and alterable multi-purpose premises in Ruoholahti will further the development of working practices, occupational well-being and collaboration between different functions,” says Ulla Niku-Koskinen, Managing Director of the Insurance Centre.
“On the other hand, the move of all Bulevardi-based Insurance Centre organisations to the new premises will enable the continuation of good mutual cooperation between the organisations and the agile flow of information, along with providing a range of other synergy benefits for the entire industry sector,” Niku-Koskinen concludes.
Bulletin 30 December 2015
Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre
An amendment to the Vehicles Act will come into force on 1 January 2016. The amendment will make several new electric mobility devices legal in traffic. According to law, motor vehicles must be insured, but what about new electric mobility devices?
Electric mobility devices include Segway-type mobility devices, hoverboards, electric scooters, self-balancing electric unicycles and pedelecs.
"Most of these electric mobility devices are not classified as vehicles under EU or national legislation. In this case, they are deemed equal to pedestrian and bicycle traffic in terms of obligation to insure," says Janne Jumppanen, director of the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre.
Motor liability insurance is required for all mobility devices or vehicles with a power of above 1 kW or with a top speed of above 25 km/h. In addition, motor liability insurance is required for motorised bicycles, which may have a power of up to 1 kW and a top speed of up to 25 km/h. There is a separate vehicle class for such bicycles in the EU, which is the reason for the obligation to insure.
Motor liability insurance is not required or available for mobility devices that assist or replace walking and with a power of up to 1 kW or a top speed of up to 15 km/h. In addition, pedelecs with a maximum power of up to 250 W and a top speed of no more than 25 km/h fall outside the obligation to insure. Also, motor liability insurance is not taken out for "light electric vehicles" with a power not exceeding 1 kW, a top speed of up to 25 km/h and a maximum width of no more than 80 cm.
Tips for people thinking of getting such a device
From the point of view of the obligation to insure, it is very important to find out the top speed and power of the device when buying it. Accidents caused by mobility devices falling outside the obligation to insure cannot be compensated for under motor liability insurance. The situation is the same as with bicycles, for example. Therefore, it would be wise to take out a voluntary insurance policy, such as accident and third party insurance.
"Accident insurance provides compensation if you injure yourself, while third party insurance compensates for personal injuries and damage to property caused to third parties. If there is no voluntary insurance coverage, the party causing the loss is liable for damage caused to themselves and others," says Antti Tuulensuu, compensation manager at the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre.
In addition, it is necessary to exercise caution when driving such devices, take other road users into account and find out about traffic rules in advance. Using appropriate safety equipment, such as a helmet, is also important. "If the power of the device exceeds 1 kW or it has a top speed above 25 km/h, it is recommended to ask Trafi whether the device may be used on the roads in Finland" says lawyer Visa Kronbäck.
Graphic on obligation to insure
Press release, 28 December 2015
The Finnish Motor Insurers' CentreThe Traffic Safety Committee of Insurance Companies (VALT)
The number of fatal accidents caused by recklessly taking risks was exceptionally low in 2014. There were one third fewer cases in which driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding and neglecting the use of safety belts were all contributing factors than in the previous year.
"The statistics for 2014 show that drivers can themselves have a significant effect on road traffic-related fatalities. Using safety belts and avoiding driving under the influence would save dozens of lives every year. Fortunately, we are heading in a better direction in this respect," says Tapio Koisaari, Liaison Officer at the Finnish Motor Insurers' Centre.
Alcohol-related accidents accounted for 17% of fatal road traffic accidents in 2014, a decrease of 11 percentage points from the previous year. On the other hand, accidents caused while under the influence of narcotics increased from 6% to 9%.
The number of fatal road traffic accidents decreased by 17%
Road accident investigation teams investigated a total of 221 fatal accidents in 2014. In 2014, 183 people died in road traffic. The number of accidents decreased by 17%.
In particular, the favourable trend could be seen in a decrease in the number of collisions involving motor vehicles. The number of collisions caused by passenger cars and vans was 26% lower than in 2013. In addition, the percentage of accidents caused by vehicle handling errors decreased from the previous year's 38% to 20%.
The decrease in traffic accidents in the above-mentioned groups, on the other hand, was seen as in increase in the percentage of accidents caused by sudden illness and intentional accidents (a combined 38%).
"The number of fatal road accidents caused by sudden illness is slowly increasing. The development of the situation has to be monitored and any measures to improve driving health investigated," emphasises traffic safety director Kalle Parkkari.
A total of 59 pedestrians and cyclists died in traffic in 2014, two people more than the average. The overall situation is slowly becoming worse for pedestrians and cyclists.
"There are no shortcuts to improving the safety of pedestrian and bicycle traffic, but all people can do their own part. Drivers of motor vehicles should be aware that annually some 70% of cases of pedestrians and cyclists being run over are due to the driver being distracted, so it is important to pay attention. It would be useful for pedestrians and cyclists to learn traffic rules and follow them better. Society's task, on the other hand, is to improve the infrastructure of pedestrian and bicycle traffic, such as bicycle lanes," Koisaari says.
Annual report of road accident investigation teams on fatal road traffic accidents in 2014 (summary in English)
Bulletin, 9 November 2015
Change of vehicle ownership will be easier starting from next week. Registration can easily be completed whilst taking out motor insurance using the electronic services of insurance companies.
Taking out statutory motor insurance is a prerequisite for vehicle registration. As insurance and registration processes require nearly identical information, they will be combined into a single process starting from 16 November 2015.
All insurance companies that grant motor insurance will be included in the new system. Most companies will open services that enable an electronic registration process starting from the middle of November, and the rest will follow during spring 2016. Contact your insurance company to inquire about the availability of the service.
You can also complete the registration process in the electronic Trafi service but, in this case, you need to have taken out motor insurance in advance.
As registration is performed in electronic format, a registration certificate will no longer be required in domestic traffic because vehicle owners and the authorities obtain the information required from the Trafi system. This change reduces the costs and environmental load of the system.
The registration process will be carried out using a secure electronic certificate which is generated on the Trafi website.
However, regardless of the transition to an electronic registration process, you can still register your vehicle by visiting an insurance company, car dealership or inspection station which offers registration services.
ELECTRONIC REGISTRATION THROUGH SERVICES OF INSURANCE COMPANIES
Press release 2 April 2015
The Finnish Motor Insurers' CentreTraffic Safety Committee of Insurance Companies (VALT)
According to the preliminary information provided by road accident investigation teams, fewer fatal accidents resulting from driving under the influence of alcohol occurred in 2014 than during the entire history of Finnish accident investigation. 27 alcohol-related accidents occurred last year, while in 2013 the amount was nearly double as much. The blood alcohol content figures remained bleak, however: 70% of the accident drivers exceeded the limit for aggravated drunk driving.
Around 40% of the drivers had a history of drunk driving. Aggravated drunk driving decreased slightly on the previous year where the 1.2 per mille limit was exceeded in 81 % of all cases. Not only the amount of alcohol-related accidents, but also their relative proportion in all fatal accidents decreased. In 2014, the proportion of alcohol-related accidents was 17%, the normal level being as much as 26%.
"After the dark figures of 2013, we have succeeded in turning the development back to a more positive direction, which could already be seen in the record-low figures of 2012. The efforts for getting drunk drivers off the roads must be systematically continued, however. Each case is one too many and poses an immense safety risk," says Traffic Safety Director Kalle Parkkari.
The most common accident type in incidences of drunk driving was run-off-road collision (66%). Collisions with another vehicle accounted for 26%.
"In a typical alcohol-related accident, a lone driver runs off the road on a summer weekend night with fatal consequences. Last year, however, an unfortunate accident took place where in addition to the drunk driver, three passengers in the vehicle lost their lives as well," says Road Safety Investigator Arja Holopainen.
Of all alcohol-related accidents in 2014, the accident driver was driving a passenger car in 67% of the cases. Motorcycle riders accounted for the second largest percentage (19%). The number of fatal motorcycle accidents resulting from driving under the influence of alcohol has remained roughly the same for a prolonged period of time. As it is, the number of alcohol-related accidents has only decreased for passenger car accidents.
The majority of the accidents (63%) occurred during summertime, i.e. during the period between April and September.
Traffic Safety Committee of Insurance Companies VALT – Preliminary information on alcohol-related accidents 2014