Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ecowas to adopt new brown card insurance scheme

Insurance officials in West Africa and the Council of Bureaux of the Ecowas Brown Card Insurance Scheme are to adopt a new Consensus Brown Card to replace the existing one which will be used by all countries of the sub-regional economic bloc.

The new card is to be adopted during an April 23-25 first zonal meeting this year of the Council and 6th extra-ordinary general assembly in Banjul, The Gambia.  At least 70 senior insurance officials are attending the meeting hosted by the Gambia National Bureau of the Ecowas Brown Card.

“[The meeting is expected to] arrive at firm resolutions and decisions [about the new brown card and settlement] that would be acceptable by all,”says Ebou L. Bittaye chairperson of the Gambia National Bureau.

Bittaye explains the meeting will discuss pertinent issues relating to the Consensus Brown Card and claims settlement under the scheme.

Insurance technocrats say “the Ecowas Brown Card Insurance Scheme is the most successful tool for integration within the sub-region as it facilitates the safe movement of peoples and goods in West Africa.”

Basiru Njai, a first deputy governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG), says the Scheme is meant to create a common system for settlement claims arising in international motor traffic and harmonization of laws governing liability to third parties in respect of motor vehicle accidents in Ecowas states.

“The scheme also serves as a facilitator of trade and tourism in the sub-region of 300 million people with a fast growing middle class, in addition to providing compensations to victims of road accidents across member states,” Njai says. 

He says the importance of the scheme would be magnified by the expected increase in trade and road traffic, following the implementation of the common external tariff in West Africa in 2015.

Ecowas Brown Card Insurance Scheme is a compulsory insurance cover for victims of road traffic accident involving vehicles traveling across the West African sub-region. It covers death, medical expenses, bodily injury and material damage.

Soriba Cisse, chairperson of the Ecowas Council of Bureaux, explains that the Scheme was established by a Protocol signed by Ecowas heads of state in Cotonou, Benin in May 1982. 

He says its objective are to enhance the free movement of road users and foster a real regional integration, and to guarantee a fair and prompt compensation to the victims of road accidents for losses suffered by visiting motorists travelling from other Ecowas member countries.

Organizers say the Banjul meeting will also adopt the report of the ad hoc committee whose remit include: to review the founding text of the Brown Card Scheme, including the protocols governing its institutional existence, and to review the mechanism of claims settlement, and suggest new ways to facilitate claims payment.

Written by Modou S. Joof
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