Jun 26, 2009, 6:47 AM
The Insurance Association of The Gambia (IAG) has launched an insurance policy to cover vehicle drivers and apprentices, in the unfortunate event of an accident.
The Group Personal Accident Insurance, requested for by the Gambia National Transport Control Association (GNTCA), was launched on Saturday in Farafenni, North Bank Region.
The launching of the product was attended by managing directors of various insurance companies, representative of the Chief of Illiasa District, service chiefs in the region, drivers and a cross-section of the public.
The policy covers drivers and vehicle apprentices, as well as members of the GNTCA, from death, temporal and/or permanent disability in the process of discharging their duties.
The launching of the product also witnessed signing of a Memorandum of Understanding and partnership agreement between the IAG and the GNTCA. The MoU will serve as the constitution governing the partnership of the two associations.
Officially launching the product on behalf of the Governor of North Bank Region, the Chief Executive Officer of Kerewan Area Council, Alhagie Tamba Kinteh, described the event as a historic occasion “as this is the first time in The Gambia the insurance association has come to the aid of drivers by providing them with an insurance policy that can cover them in the unfortunate event of an accident”.
He expressed delight that the product has been launched in Farafenni, saying it is in line with the government’s policy of decentralization.
Henry Jawo, secretary general of the IAG, said the product was requested for by the transport association to cover its members, drivers and apprentices. “They came to us asking for the design of a policy that can cover them in the unfortunate event of an accident. So we designed the policy, and it covers them in an event of motor traffic accident,” Mr Jawo said, adding that the importance of the policy cannot be overemphasised, because drivers, like other persons, are exposed to risks in carrying out their daily work.
Commercial drivers, hitherto, were off the hook of insurance policy schemes that could cover them in the event of an accident, since the existing third party insurance policy covers only passengers on board a vehicle but not drivers and their apprentices. “That is why when the GNTCA came up with the suggestion that they need an insurance policy that will cover drivers and apprentices, we never hesitated to craft one that suits them well,” Mr Jawo explained.
“The premium for this policy is D500.25 per individual for one year. With this amount you are covered in case of death, permanent disablement and temporal disablement.
“The liability payable on this scheme is limited and it varies. For accidental death, the amount payable is D100,000 lump sum for any one accident. For total or permanent disablement the lump sum payable is D70,000 for any one accident. For a partial or temporal disablement, something that can be treated and later you can resume work, the amount payable is D10,000 as a lump sum for every accident. There is a provision to be pay the victim D1,000 every month for the period of six months for temporal disability.”
Dawda Sarge, president of the IAG and managing director of Prime Insurance Company, said the association has been working with the GNTCA to craft “such a very important scheme”.
The Motor Vehicle Third Party Insurance Policy of 1948 excludes drivers of commercial vehicles. This situation, he said, has been a concern for the transport association and for the IAG as well. “So we have to find a way to go round that by providing them with a policy that we think will serve their need,” Mr Sarge said.
“We do not sit in our offices to design the product in isolation. We designed the product in collaboration with the GNTCA. They came with a request, we gave them opportunity to go back to consult with their members including those in their respective regional chapters and finally they came up with something that we can look at together.
“For the last two years the process has been ongoing. So the launching of the product is a culmination of the efforts, time, energy, ideas and of course with the support of the Almighty Allah, and we believe the product will actually serve the need for which it was created.”
Affordability, accessibility, flexibility and simplicity, Mr Sarge says, are the four elements of the new group personal accident scheme.
The scheme is accessible, he further said: “It is accessible because all the drivers and apprentices can get access to the product through their secretariat and the regional chapters of the GNTCA nationwide and it is affordable because they can pay for it.
“It is flexible because it is customised to suit the drivers and the apprentices and simple because it is not a document that will take you overnight reading before you can digest it.”
With this product, drivers can now have a peace of mind and sense of security as they go about their work.
Said Mr Sarge: “As for now, the product is for the GNTCA because we have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with them. This does not mean that commercial drivers who are not members of the GNTCA cannot take the personal accident insurance policy.”
The IAG president also explained the claim procedure in the case of an accident, saying claimants can channel their claims through the GNTCA secretariat who will assist them to provide the required documents when lodging a claim. Settlement would be completed in two weeks, he says.
The secretary general of the GNTCA, Sheriff Dibba, in his remarks on the new development, said history has it that since time immemorial third party motor insurance does not cover the driver.
“You will agree with me that many responsible drivers are disabled or have even lost their lives in road traffic accidents leaving their loved ones in hopeless condition,” Mr Dibba said, adding: “Considering the high risk connected with our profession and knowing very well that as breadwinners the welfare of our family remains our responsibility even when we are disabled, therefore it is our duty to protect ourselves against eventualities, although accident cannot be prevented its impact can at least be minimised.”
Pa Alieu Sillah, Commissioner of Insurance at the Central Bank of The Gambia, said that with the launching of the group personal accident, a very important gap in insurance provision is about to be filled.
“This product will play a very important role in filling the gap and building public confidence in insurance,” he said.
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