200,000 cars without insurance

Business News of Monday, 8 April 2013

Source: B&FT

Traffic@Accra 06

Nearly 200,000 vehicles on the country’s roads do not have insurance cover, not even the mandatory third-party insurance — which poses a danger to other road users, the B&FT has gathered. Additionally, many insurance firms have found fake motor insurance policies in circulation; which means that victims of accidents caused by these vehicles do not get adequate compensation.

According to data from the National Insurance Commission (NIC), 759,691 vehicle insurance stickers were issued last year to the 25 non-life underwriting companies to identify cars that have legitimate insurance cover.

However, the number of vehicle insurance stickers issued by the regulator falls short of the number of cars permitted to ply the roads. The Driver and Vehicle Licencing Authority (DVLA) has reported that 946,284 vehicles were inspected last year for roadworthiness. This means that about 186,593 vehicles that were allowed to use the roads did not have insurance cover, a situation that has raised questions about the whereabouts of those cars.

Some insurance practitioners, who didn’t want their names mentioned because they are not allowed to publicly comment on issues, explained to the B&FT that some of the vehicles which were passed as roadworthy could be state-owned — which by law are self-insured and do not require insurance cover before being allowed on the road.

Others also attributed the situation to the increasing use of DV number plates, as well as the activities of fraudsters who alter information on the stickers to avoid paying insurance premium.

“With the advancement in printing technology, it is possible for fraudsters to replicate policies of existing companies, helping them get through police-checks. However, it is at the time of accident and claims from third parties that insurers detect the existence of fake policies.

“Second, vehicle owners in small cities and villages do not face any scrutiny of their documents,” B&FT was told. However, a situation where about 186,593 vehicles could be on the roads without insurance is a worry to insurance underwriters who fear for the safety of other road users, especially as the incidence of road accidents is on the rise.

According to insurance practitioners, uninsured vehicles on the roads and others with fake insurance policies have also had a toll on activities of the awards sub-committee of the motor compensation fund.

In 2011, the awards sub-committee of the motor compensation fund — which was created by the NIC to compensate persons who suffer injury or death through motor accidents and are unable to obtain compensation from insurance companies — held 18 sittings. Out of this, a total of GH¢250,798 was paid out as compensation to applicants who petitioned the fund because the accident involved uninsured vehicles, hit and run, and breach of policy conditions by the policyholders.