By Ebere Nwoji
The federal government has said it will ensure the full implementation of the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme to guarantee prompt compensation to victims of road accident within the sub-region.
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, stated this while speaking at the inauguration of Mr. Ganiyu Musa, as the Chairman of Council of Bureaux, ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme, in Abuja recently.
She noted that the existence of the scheme and its effective implementation would stimulate integration of the West African regional block preparatory to the full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade
Ahmed, who was represented by the Commissioner for Insurance/CEO of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Mr. Sunday Thomas, applauded the initiative, saying it welcomes the free movement of goods and services within the sub-region and promotes intra – regional investments and cooperation.
He said it was a huge step in the right direction for economic integration.
The NAICOM boss, while examining the appropriate governance for the National bureaux, said, there are challenges that must be addressed if the objectives of the ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme was to be fully achieved.
He listed some of the challenges to include: lack of respect for the agreement signed by member countries; delay in settlement of claims due to victims; inadequate funding of the National Bureaux; lack of public awareness and education.
Others according to him are fraud in the acquisition of the certificate at the borders; inadequate commitment to reconciliation and cross settlement; low level of technology application in the distribution and general implementation of the scheme, among others.
While congratulating the new chairman of the bureaux who doubles as the chairman of the Nigerian Insurers Association(NIA), the NAICOM boss, wished him success in his tenure, hoping that he would turn the tide around for the better.
In his acceptance speech, Musa, promised to address all the challenges bedeviling the success of the scheme, promising to leverage on the successes already recorded to reshape and promote the scheme among West African countries.
He expressed belief in the brown card insurance scheme, saying the initiative could transform insurance, especially, motor insurance scheme across the borders of West African countries.
“It is an initiative that can raise insurance awareness and penetration across the region. The main objective of the scheme is to ensure prompt and fair compensation to the victims of road accidents for the damages caused them by non-residing motorists travelling from other ECOWAS member States to their country.
According to him, the ECOWAS Brown Card Scheme operates through a 14 National Bureaux network spread throughout the member-states. Each National Bureaux plays two major roles. The National Bureaux operates therefore as an issuing Bureau to ensure brown card availability for local motorists, while also conducting investigation and settle claims arising from an accident caused by motorist holders of brown card.