AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CHIEF OF STAFF ON INSURING GOVERNMENT VEHICLES
The current chief of staff of Ghana is Madam Akosua Frema Osei-Opare who many people have described as a true mother. She gives out love to many and shows motherly love to everyone that comes her way. She is a politician and an economist.
She is from Wiamoase in the Ashanti Region which happens to be my hometown too. I have not had the opportunity to chat with her face to face. I am sure I would have discussed this if I ever had the opportunity. This is why I want to make this an open letter.
Mummy, I got a little scared if not too much I might say when a motor accident victim approached me and told me he was involved in a motor accident with one of the Ministry vehicles. I am not going into the facts of the case but this brought my mind to something I would like to share with you for a possible solution.
The statistics for motor accidents are scary and this is why road accident is a national issue in Ghana. To protect accident victims, many countries acted by making third-party liability insurance compulsory or having security. In Ghana, the Motor third party Act is the Motor Vehicles (Third Party Insurance) Act, 1958 (No. 42). The following are a few of the things you need to know about your motor third insurance Act 1958;
“Subject to this Act, a person shall not use or cause or permit any other person to use, a motor vehicle unless there is in force in relation to the user of that motor vehicle by that person or the other person, a policy of insurance or security (that is to deposit and keep the deposit with the Accountant-General the sum of two hundred thousand cedis) in respect of third party risks which complies with this Act”.
The Motor Vehicles (Third Party Insurance) Act, 1958 (No. 42) that makes vehicles have a minimum of third party motor insurance or security excludes government or state vehicles and I quote the first exemption “to the user of a motor vehicle owned by or exclusively employed in the service of the Government while the motor vehicle is being used for the purposes of the Government”. I am sure the legal people could help us interpret the phrase “for the purpose of the government”. Does this include when the vehicle is being used on private assignments by individuals working for government agencies?
What would happen if government vehicles cause injury, death, or property damage to other people (third parties). Mummy, this is why I would be very grateful if you could help answer and make these questions below a public knowledge;
- Where will motor accident victims receive compensation?
- What are the processes and procedures for making the claim?
- What benefit or compensation do I stand to get when I am involved in an accident with a government vehicle?
- Who or which institution is responsible to handle all the third-party claims associated with government vehicles?
- Which body can you complain to when you do not receive fair compensation?
- What are the timelines for the claims processes?
- What is the limitation period to officially report a claim with a government vehicle as a victim or a dependant of the victim for compensation?
- What benefits go to the dependants of the motor accident victim with a government vehicle in case of demise? And others that may come to mind.
The motor third party insurance cover will pay on behalf of the insured or the driver, in respect of a legal liability to third parties resulting from an accident caused by his/her vehicle. In simple terms, the third party is any other person except the owner or the driver of the vehicle and the insurer will indemnify:
- The owner or any other person driving, using, or in charge of the vehicle with the consent of the owner, or any authorised passenger getting in, on, or out of the vehicle for:
- death of or bodily injury to any person, and/or
- damage to property belonging to someone other than the insured
- death of or bodily injury to a member of the insured household or any other occupants
- the policy also pays compensation to the driver for bodily injury or death
Even though the Act exempts the government from taking this insurance, I believe it would save us a lot of financial burdens and also provide us with enough security, protection, and assurance if we have these vehicles insured with at least the minimum cover which is the motor third party risk. Imagine how much the government could pay as compensation to each motor accident victim compared to the premium for the motor third party cover.
Again, I also believe government as a word is too big to cover a lot of institutions. Probably, the exclusion could be limited to cover only the Presidency and other few executives.
Furthermore, allowing most government institutions to insure can also grow the insurance sector. Government has more resources than any other. That would increase insurance penetration and coverage. It is also another form of capital injection into the economy.
In Georgia, there are significant legal and procedural differences that arise when one of the parties involved in a motor vehicle accident is a government vehicle. I believe we can learn from them.
Motor Third party insurance is critical when there is an accident because it provides compensation for injured third-party victims and also compensation for dependents of people who died through motor accidents or crashes. This is the main reason why occupants of vehicles should always check the validity of the vehicle insurance before the board. It has now become easier to do this by just dialing *920*57# and inputting the vehicle number into a system on any phone or network at no cost to you.
The writer is a Chartered Insurance Practitioner of United State of America, USA, United Kingdom, UK and Ghana (CPCU, ACII, ACIIG), and holds MPhil in Enterprise Risk Management and Business Consulting from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, attained Bachelor’s degree from University of Ghana, Legon and have Applied Insurance studies, Diploma and Advanced Diploma (AAIS & AIS) from Ghana Insurance College / Malta Insurance Training Institute with 15years industrial experience. His interest lies in insurance, risk and data analysis.
Justice Peprah AGYEI, CPCU, ACII, ACIIG, MPhil, BA (0208498571)
Motor Third Party Policy Document
Motor Third Party Insurance Act 1958