By Peterson Tumwebaze
Insurers and transporters have been urged to embrace the common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) yellow card to boost intra-regional trade.
The COMESA yellow card is a motor vehicle insurance scheme which is valid in all the participating countries.
The card covers third-party liabilities and medical expenses for the driver of the vehicle and his passengers should they suffer any bodily injury as a result of an accident to an insured vehicle.
And according to Reuben Kibiru the chief Executive officer Britam and chairman Rwanda association of insurers embracing the card will help facilitate cross border movement of vehicles between COMESA member countries.
“This will translate into a reduction in the cost of doing business across the region but also fast track efforts to integrate the COMESA trade block,” Kibiru said.
He was speaking during a sensitization workshop on the COMESA yellow card scheme held in Kigali. For as long as the card is valid transporters and motorists do not have to buy insurance cover at each border post they cross, Alexis Ruzigura, commercial Director, SONARWA General Insurance company, said.
“For example, if a Rwandan motorist wishes to drive to say Tanzania or Zimbabwe, he will purchase a yellow card from an insurance company in Rwanda for the required period of time and to cover the countries he will travel through; this translates into efficiency and reduction in the cost of doing business,” Ruzigura noted.
The scheme is currently operational in Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe. About 150 insurance companies are involved in the operation of the scheme and issue about 50,000 cards annually.
The Comesa yellow card is a motor vehicle insurance scheme that is used by truckers operating in the Comesa bloc. It covers third-party liabilities and medical expenses for the driver and his passengers in case of an accident.
There are 150 insurance companies, which issue about 50,000 cards annually with Sonarwa being Rwanda’s yellow card national bureau.
The scheme has removed the need for transporters to make stopovers at various border posts across the Comesa trading bloc to acquire insurance cover.
How the scheme works
The Comesa cover is normally processed and settled under third party liability. When one has an insurance policy from Rwanda, they cannot get an extension from another country, say in Uganda.
When the vehicle is involved in an accident in another country, the national bureau first verifies the authenticity of the yellow card from the country where the yellow card was issued before it can handle any claims.
The claim is then processed according to the laws and regulations of that country. The bureau will later recover the money from the insurer who issued the yellow card if the indemnity does not exceed $15,000. If it is above $15,000, a reinsurance pool pays the indemnity.
The protocol that established the scheme was signed by the member countries in 1986 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.