One of the market’s leading insurance providers, Mark Bates Ltd, is adamant that mobility scooter cover should be made compulsory despite comments from advisors that a change in legislation could quickly saturate the market.
Most dealers unanimously agree that there is a need for compulsory cover on mobility scooters but some insurance experts are wary that new legislation would see mainstream companies like Aviva and AXA enter and dominate the market.
Mark Bates, managing director of specialist insurance firm Mark Bates Ltd, has for years lobbied government to make it a legal requirement for mobility scooters to be covered.
He is convinced that getting the industry to work together is the key to triggering legislation and to him, that means the market’s top insurers all sitting around the table. He has been told by a number of observers however that compulsory insurance is not a good idea.
“Our policies are highly specialised and the big boys like Aviva aren’t interested because less than 40% of people using scooters are insured” Bates said.
“If it was made compulsory that means there is one shed load of business. Some people might think it’s just trying to line your pockets.
“That is not true. I’m a family man with a large family and every time we go out into areas with mobility scooters there is a risk of something occurring because they’re on the same pathways as our family. I think it’s absolutely imperative that everyone is covered.
“On a business front, I’ve been told by several advisors that I’d be cutting my own throat. Because if it was made compulsory by law then all the big boys would come in and it could change the market and kill it.
“I don’t think that’s a good enough reason for us not to insist that we find a way of making sure people are covered. What I would say to dealers is that they have a moral right to ensure that each of their users has been encouraged to be insured.”
Most of the industry’s reputable dealers aim to ensure all of their scooter customers are insured and some try and suggest it is compulsory without actually saying so.
There is a growing concern within the market of the number of accidents involving mobility scooters.
This year already a handful of people have been killed while using their mobility scooters and many more have been injured. The incidents have led to growing calls from within and outside of the industry for stricter rules on who can use mobility scooters.