Jackson Lee Underwriting alerts brokers to the recent issue in Northern Ireland that could leave clients exposed and breaking the law.
Unlike the law in the rest of the UK, anyone riding an electric bicycle (or ebike) in Northern Ireland needs a minimum of third-party liability motor insurance by law – that includes ebikes. They must also complete their Compulsory Basic Training (CBT) and pass both theory and practical tests, be taxed and registered with the DVLA. Riders also need to wear a motorbike helmet. Anyone caught breaching the law could face six penalty points or a fine of up to £1,000. Despite the law, the DVLA has only enabled the registration of ebikes since August this year.
Nick Mohan, joint Managing Director at Jackson Lee Underwriting, thinks brokers are unlikely to be aware of the issue and could be putting their clients at risk is they do not offer them the correct insurance. This applies to clients living in Northern Ireland or those who might be travelling to Northern Ireland with an ebike.
He comments: “The Northern Ireland Executive never got around to changing legislation when battery-powered bikes became popular, meaning they are classified as motor vehicles in the eyes of the law and have the same requirements for insurance. In the rest of the UK anyone over 14 can ride one without a license, tax or insurance.
“ebikes are becoming hugely popular. More and more people are being encouraged to cycle, particularly as the cost of motoring goes up, but not everyone wants to pedal all the way! Electric bikes are the perfect solution and the new wave of ebikes have good power and battery life and are stylish too – some of the best can even be bought now for under £1000. It’s a booming market.”
Nick Mohan continues: “Brokers should think laterally too in the circumstances. They may well have clients who they arrange touring caravan insurance for and as they might know it has become a growing trend for caravanners to adopt these (fairly expensive) ebikes as a means of getting around once on site. Whilst this is fine, and the bikes can be covered under standard cycle policies in the UK, any clients travelling to or living in Northern Ireland will need minimum third-party liability motor insurance by law – that includes ebikes. Whilst clearly an issue, this is also a market opportunity for brokers who are best placed to ensure clients are adequately insured.”
Notes to editors
For further information please contact:
SJ Wrigley, Spotlight Consulting on 07909546104 or firstname.lastname@example.org
About Jackson Lee Underwriting
Jackson Lee Underwriting is an MGA celebrating 26 years in business this year with offices in London, Devon and Warwickshire. It has been the BIBA approved GAP scheme provider since 2012 and specialises in bringing a broad range of innovative niche insurance products to the broker market.