Move on insurance cover commendable

THE computerisation of third party insurance cover notes by the Zimbabwe National Road Administration (Zinara) with effect from May 1, as reported in last week’s edition of the WeekendPost  — is worthy of praise for a variety of reasons.

Zimbabweans were being fleeced of their hard-earned cash by unscrupulous fly-by-night vendors who would offer motorists fake insurance notes at below-market rates.

However, in the effect of a mishap, such vendors would be nowhere in sight as they sold on the streets. They would not have any fixed offices but would mill around most places where motor vehicle licence disks are sold.

Key points where they would almost always be found would be entrances to post offices as well as Zinara outlets countrywide, among other places.

Some of the daring vendors would even print their own cover notes and manufacture stamps from established insurance firms.

In Zimbabwe, insurance firms are registered and regulated by the Insurance and Pension Commission (Ipec).

Going forward, registered insurance firms will be linked to Zinara databases and the Central Vehicle Registry. The new electronic cover note will obviously go a long way in avoiding insurance frauds while at the same time pushing out insurance firms that are not remitting taxes but routinely endangering the lives of thousands of innocent passengers.

The Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe (TSCZ), was also facing problems with the collection of its 12 percent levy from insurance companies because of the proliferation of fake insurance policies.

The TSCZ, which conducts numerous educational campaigns on road safety would obviously enhance its operations if they manage to collect all that is due to them.

Likewise, Zinara would license only those vehicles with genuine and valid insurance cover notes. Besides, the database will go a long way in easing Ipec’s monitoring and regulatory function.

It would also be easier for insurance firms to send reminders to clients on the renewal of their cover notes. The old system was easy to manipulate and allowed the issuance of fake insurance policies.

The net loser in this matrix, sadly, were the victims of road accidents who had nowhere to turn in the event the vehicles they were travelling on had fake insurance cover.

It is our hope that government, through the Transport ministry, will continue to monitor the operations of the new system and — hopefully — check whether unscrupulous vendors had not infiltrated other forms of insurance cover.

One area government could quickly look at is the tobacco sector where several farmers have raised concern after purchasing fake insurance cover for their crop.

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