12 January 2013

Zambia: Compulsory Vehicle Insurance Scheme Unveiled

GOVERNMENT has set up a compulsory third motor vehicle insurance scheme in the Road Traffic Act aimed at taking care of bodily injury and death.

Ministry of Works, Transport, Supply and Communications Permanent Secretary Muyenga Atanga said the establishment of the scheme was meant to reduce the main challenges faced when taking care of injured persons in Zambia.

Dr Atanga noted that the current scheme seemed not to address all the post-crash needs that arose from road traffic accidents.

"The reality we face today is that the current scheme does not seem to address all the post-crash needs that arise from road traffic accidents," Dr Atanga said.

He said motorists had been inclined to view the current scheme as a form of tax that they were at liberty to evade rather than as a protection against their personal liability.

Dr Atanga said the Government was faced with the challenge of takin g care of the victims of hit-and-run run, compensation of emergency response service providers and related medical costs, adding that the challenges called for concerted efforts among all players in the road transport sector.

"The efforts achieved by insurance companies by compensating victims of the road traffic accidents within the current legal framework deserve commendation.

"It is beyond imagination as to what extent the burden would have been if the insurance companies had not obliged to their obligation," he said.

Dr Atanga said the Government desired to have a scheme that would address the needs of all road users such as one which addressed the needs of road accident victims' financial and medical requirements at the time of their greatest need for such.

He said the Government needed to have schemes of road accident compensation which would, among other things, strike a delicate balance between its sustainability and providing value to its intended beneficiaries, and a scheme with an appropriate legal and implementation framework.

Road Traffic and Safety Agency (RTSA) chief executive officer Zindaba Soko said to address the shortcomings of the current third party insurance cover, one of the corporate plans of RTSA was the creation of the road accident fund.

Mr Soko said Zambia had a history of high road traffic accident incidences that killed more than 1, 200 people per year and injured thousands more, representing the third largest category of deaths in the country.

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