Friday, April 25, 2014

Ecowas to address slow insurance claims payment

L-R: Bio Adamou, SG Ecowas Council of Bureaux and Henry Jawo, SG Gambia National Bureau speaking to journalists at the end the Ecowas Brown Card Zonal meeting in Banjul. (Photo Credit: Lamin Jahateh)
Slow payment of genuine claims as a challenge to the implementation of the Ecowas Brown Card Insurance Scheme will be addressed, the 1st zonal meeting of the Scheme agreed in Banjul on Friday.

Discussed under the theme “claims management within Ecowas”, various national bureaux of the Council of Bureaux of the Ecowas Brown Card reflect on the best ways to settle claims. 

Bio Adamou, secretary general of the permanent secretariat Ecowas Council of Bureaux, says: “The slow payments of payment of claims is contrary to the spirit of the provisions of the Protocol [of the Brown Card] which states that ‘our scheme’ is based on prompt and fair claims settlement. 


“But finally we have agreed to put on the floor all the challenges and to see how best this year we can solve them.” 

“The meeting has agreed that all national bureaux should put in place a compensation fund which they can use to pay claims quickly. I can say that this was the key outcome of the meeting,” Mr Adamou told journalists shortly after the meeting.

Henry Jawo, secretary general of the Gambia National Bureau, says under the fund, national bureaux can pay claims quickly on behalf of insurance companies and later got refunded by the same insurance companies on whose behalf a particular claim is paid. 

He says claims are being paid under the scheme but admitted that the process has been slow. Mr Jawo attributes this to lack of resources on the side of national bureaux.

Jawo explains that national bureaux have to wait for the insurance company that issued the insurance cover to settle the claim first before the bureau can settle. 

“The arrangement is slow and that is the main cause of the delay in payment,” he says.

No date set

Though no date has been set by the meeting for national bureaux to kick-start the compensation fund, both Adamou and Jawo say the process to establish the fund will begin in earnest and will be supported by member companies of bureaux.

The Zonal meeting held in Banjul is the 1st of two meetings organised by the council of bureaux annually. It is a statutory requirement. 

The April 24-25 hosted by the Gambia national bureau of Ecowas brown card, organised by the council of bureaux, was preceded by the 6th extra-ordinary general assembly of the Scheme on April 23 which adopted a new consensus brown card scheme for use in all member states.

At least 70 insurers in the sub-regional economic bloc, Ecowas, met to discuss claims management regarding the Brown Card Insurance Scheme in West Africa.

The Brown Card is an international insurance certificate that is issued to motorists when they travel from their country of residence to another country within Ecowas.  It covers death, medical expenses, bodily injury and material damage.

Established in 1982 with the objectives to enhance the free movement of road users and foster a real regional integration - insurance say the Brown Card is the most successful tool for integration within the sub-region as it facilitates the safe movement of peoples and goods.

Written by Modou S. Joof
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