The Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) is to be highly commended for taking the initiative, along with three other key relevant national institutions, to ensure that all vehicles in Liberia have Third Party Liability (TPL) Insurance.
The other institutions are the Liberia National Police (LNP), the Ministry of Transport (MOT) and the Association of Insurers of Liberia (AIL). These four national institutions will work together to ensure that the TPL provides financial security for the public in the event of injury, death or property damage resulting from motor vehicle accidents.
The program will ensure that all insurance companies underwriting motor insurance comply with the Protocols of the ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme, including all adopted yet unimplemented resolutions emanating from the scheme.
CBL Governor Milton Weeks, who is spearheading this important new regulation in the transport and insurance industries, said “CBL will ensure the continued financial viability of insurers who underwrite motor insurance in terms of adequate capital, sufficient liquidity to settle claims and other liabilities, and will also strengthen corporate governance and ensure that licensed motor insurers comply with the Insurance Act of 2013 and its regulations, as well as other regional laws.”
This is all great news, especially for the public that out of necessity must use public and private transport on an hourly basis throughout the year to get to work, to market places, to church, to mosque and to travel from one place to another within and across counties and even across national borders, visiting other countries within the West African Sub-Region.
But how effectively will this new regulation be enforced? It is a fact that though the Liberian government has been vigorously implementing the Insurance Act, which demands that all vehicles are insured, a good number of vehicles plying our streets and highways are uninsured. We are talking from personal experience. Just last week a Daily Observer vehicle was hit at the rear by another vehicle that had no insurance. Fortunately, it was a minor accident and the vehicle owners responsible for the accident, upon the intervention of the LNP, took immediate responsibility. But only few weeks a nasty accident occurred killing several. And what happened? The operator of the vehicle, which was uninsured, eloped (ran away).
This new CBL-led compulsory insurance regulation has a grave responsibility to ensure that the Insurance Act of 2013 is strictly enforced. What gives the new regulation some bite or boost is the involvement of the LNP, the vehicle insurers through the AIL, and the Ministry of Transport, which is ultimately responsible to enforce all vehicles plying the streets and highways in Liberia.
Another burning question relates to another major and critical sector in the transport industry—the motorbikes, most of which are uninsured.
Adding to this is the fact that so many motorbike drivers lack even a license to operate. The institution with the particular responsibility to correct this dangerous and seemingly uncontrollable phenomenon (trend, happening) is the LNP.
Herein lies the critical responsibility of the LNP, which is particularly charged with the task of regulating all transport within the country. But how much fairness, effectiveness and, above all, integrity can the average police officer be expected to exercise in the performance of this important duty?
One only has to visit the Paynesville Red Light to see how lawlessly the motor vehicle and motorbike drivers operate, rendering the Police totally ineffective, even paralyzed.
The four institutions responsible for the effective implementation of this good, new policy governing motor vehicles must constantly meet to resolve the challenges they must face on a daily and hourly basis.
And they all must answer the critical question, what to do about motorbike drivers—how can they be effectively conscripted (enlisted, enrolled) as participants in this important new regulation?