Rwanda: Special Guarantee Fund Losing Money Through Uninsured Motorcycles

Motorcycles used in transport but are not registered under any insurance schemes are on the rise, an issue that has raised concerns in the taxi-moto transport sector, according to Special Guarantee Fund (SGF).

It means that such automobiles don't have any assurance to pay for damages or injuries in case of an accident while driving.

SGF is a government insurance agency mandated to compensate victims of accidents and damages caused by uninsured and non-identified automobiles and wild animals.

When cases involving such motorbikes occur, the government, though the Fund, grants the due indemnities for the damages inflicted to the victims, because they cannot continue waiting for compensations. But, it pursues the owner so that they provide to the Fund the expenses it has met for it to continue offering the service.

"Accidents should be prevented, or at least, the motorcycle involved have insurance to pay for damages so that the owner continues to use the motorcycle," Joseph Nzabonikuza, Director General of SGF told Sunday Times.

The cases are many, he said, as most of the motorcycles on the road have no insurance, which is resulting in loss in case of accidents.

Road accidents claims reported and settled in 2018-2019 financial year amounted to 164, costing Rwf530 million in compensations that were paid by SGF, statistics from the Fund show.

Of those, SGF figures reveal, claims of accidents caused by uninsured vehicles were Rwf333.9 million (63 percent of the total compensations) which is higher than Rwf196.1 million paid in claims of victims of road accidents caused by non-identified vehicles.

Some 99 uninsured motorbikes were involved in accidents, accounting for 73.9 of all 134 non-insured cases reported in the financial year 2018-2019, whereas auto or cars (35) represented 26.1 percent.

Nzabonikuza explained that, last year, they received 196 claims for compensation, whereby 99 were motorcycles that were not insured.

Where the motorcycle operator had not insured their vehicle, they sell their property and pay. Their motorcycle is impounded and auctioned, and other properties are auctioned until the owed amount is fully reimbursed, Nzabonikuza explained.

"It has been realised that some do not insure their motorbikes because they don't understand its importance. They have been trying to evade police," he exposed.

"But, the issue has adverse effects on them [motorcycle operators] as they get injured, or even die in accidents; they are sued for damages and their property gets auctioned," he said adding that they should understand the importance of insurance.

The chairperson of Rwanda Federation of Taxi-Moto Operators (FERWACOTAMO), Daniel Ngarambe told Sunday Times that lack of insurance might lead to losses by the SGF.

"We are encouraging our members to have insurance so that once he/she is involved in an accident, they remain with their vehicle, and that the insurance pays for the damages to the victim," he said.

Jean Marie Vianney Ndushabandi, spokesperson for Traffic and Road Safety Department at Rwanda National Police (RNP) told Sunday Times that there is a problem of motorcycles for which insurance was purchased, but it is not renewed once it has expired.

"SGF is the one covering the damages caused by the vehicles which lack insurance, but, it says that the government's funds should not be spent on vehicles for which owner has forgotten to buy insurance," he said.

This issue has prompted the Fund, RNP and FERWACOTAMO) to embark on a campaign aimed at sensitising them to embrace insurance for their vehicles, as well as get skills for safe riding to prevent severe damages.

There are about 45,000 taxi-moto operators in Rwanda, of which, 18,000 are in the City of Kigali, according to Ngarambe.

He disclosed that the Federation is going to monitor and identify all the motorcycles which have don't insurance and encourage them to obtain it for their own benefit.

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