PM: Uninsured Vehicles A Challenge For Insurance Industry

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Prime Minister David Thompson, unveiling a plaque to declare the Pasea Financial Centre officially open. At right is Director of the Centre, Randy Graham.

In an attempt to address the escalating number of vehicles travelling uninsured on Barbados’ roads, long-term solutions such as electronic licensing technologies, are under consideration by government.????

This was revealed recently by Prime Minister David Thompson, as he addressed the opening ceremony of Pasea Financial Centre, located at the corner of??Dayrells Road and Harts Gap, St. Michael.????

Noting that the matter was causing challenges for the insurance industry, Mr. Thompson said that Cabinet’s immediate response had been to instruct the Royal Barbados Police Force "to step up its spot checks for the safety of all road users".

The Prime Minister explained that with the available information technology base, consideration was being given to the Ministry of Public Works setting up "a direct network link between the road tax department and the insurance fraternity to allow for a more immediate transfer of information".

He added: "There may be manpower and a systems set-up cost associated with such an arrangement, but we all agree that something must be done to protect all road users.

"Having said that, the length of time it is taking to settle motor insurance claims has for quite some time been a concern to those who have been paying their premiums for several years without making a single claim."

Mr. Thompson suggested that one route that could be taken to resolve the issue would be the setting up of a claims tribunal, where liability in motor accidents could be established.

He pointed out, however, that it was clear that regulation of the insurance industry needed to be enhanced, to ensure that there were always funds available in insurance companies to settle clients’ claims.

In this regard, the Prime Minister said that plans remained on stream to establish a Financial Services regulatory authority to monitor institutions in the non-bank financial sector, including insurance companies, by early next year.

"The setting up of such an entity may be costly initially, but it will go a long way to ensuring that what happened to unknowing investors in North America, Europe and beyond – who lost their life-savings with a wave of the hand – does not happen here," Mr. Thompson stated.

He explained that the aim was to establish an effective monitoring mechanism where the Supervisor of Insurance and other regulatory officials, could meet frequently to look over the books of local and, where necessary, regional, financial institutions operating across the region’s borders.

gapplewhaite@barbados.gov.bb

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