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Windscreen insurance stickers could become thing of the past in France

The stickers must be changed yearly and come with paper counterpart certificates. Campaigners say getting rid of them would reduce fraud and waste

Close up of green certificat d’assurance car insurance sticker

These green car insurance certificates could no longer be needed if insurance companies succeed in changing the system Pic: Hadrian / Shutterstock

Insurance companies in France are lobbying the government to get rid of green car insurance stickers, along with paper insurance certificates, in a bid to reduce fraud and simplify the system.

France Assureurs (formerly la Fédération française de l’assurance), which comprises 247 insurance companies, has been holding talks with the economy, transport, and Interior Ministries for several weeks, Le Parisien reported.

Insurance policy certificates have been required to be stuck on to vehicle windscreens in France since 1986. The stickers change each year, and show that the vehicle in question is insured. 

The stickers come with a paper counterpart certificate, which must be shown if asked by a police officer or gendarmerie (or risk a fine of €35).

But Franck Le Vallois, director-general of France Assureurs, said: “Today we have all the technical means to simplify people’s lives and improve the fight against fraud [by getting rid of the paper stickers].”

Since 2019, law enforcement officers have also been able to consult a database list of insurance vehicles, the Ficher des véhicules assurés (FAV), which was created in 2016. 

The list contains the number plate of the vehicle, the name of the insured driver, the contract number, and its validity period. 

More than 60 million vehicles are listed, and companies must highlight any changes to the list within 72 hours.

Insurance companies now say that this list should be used above all other documents. Mr Le Vallois stated: “Its reliability is more than 99%.”

The association also claims that using the list, rather than requiring paper stickers and certificates, would make drivers’ lives easier, as they would no longer need to change the stickers each year, nor to carry a paper certificate in their wallet or glove compartment.

Getting rid of stickers and paper would also be an eco-friendly move, the association has said, and would stop the printing of more than 50 million documents on paper per year.

Discussions are progressing well, the association said. Mr Le Vallois stated: “We are hopeful that our suggestions will be taken on board.” 

Pierre Chasseray, general delegate of drivers’ association 40 Million d’Automobilistes, told Le Parisien: “We are largely in favour of this removal. There’s no longer any need for this piece of paper. 

“It may take some time to change people’s habits, but [the paper stickers and certificates] are no longer useful because everything is digital now.”

However, Le Parisien suggested that any changes would take several months once enacted, especially given the recent presidential elections.

It said: “At the very least, we would have to wait for the appointment of the new government before a decree can be issued and its benefits are proven.”

Mr Le Vallois said that insurers would give people around a year to change over to the new system, should it be introduced. 

He said: “We don’t want people to panic that they won’t receive their sticker in their letterbox just yet.”

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