‘Empathize with accident victims’

The Chairman of the Council of Bureaux of the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme and also the Managing Director of Phoenix Insurance Company (Ghana), Mr Henry Bukari has admonished practitioners and handlers of motor insurance claims to put themselves in the shoes of victims who find themselves in other countries other than their countries of origin within the ECOWAS sub-Region.

He bemoaned the situation where some National Bureaux operators and handlers delay in compensation payments to victims as “everyone is a potential accident victim anywhere”, he bemoaned.

He made this statement during the first zonal meeting of the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme which is being held in Conakry, Guinea.
During the meeting, participants from ECOWAS countries would have the opportunity to exchange ideas, share good practices and explore new opportunities for cooperation. The aim is to overcome obstacles to free movement in order to promote the sustainable development of West African states.

The ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme is an extension of the “motor insurance cover” to promote the free movement of people and their goods in the ECOWAS region, through rapid and fair compensation for cross-border claims.

The launch of this first meeting was chaired by the Second Vice-Governor of the Central Bank of the Republic of Guinea, Mrs. Souadou Baldé who represented the Governor of the Central Bank of Guinea, Mr Karamo Kaba.
In expressing her expectations for the meeting, Mrs Balde stated: “I hope that during this period, your exchanges and sharing of experiences will lead to relevant recommendations and useful resolutions to achieve our objectives. The Central Bank of the Republic of Guinea, as the insurance supervisory authority [of the country, Guinea], undertakes to implement the measures and resolutions resulting from these meetings. I am confident that each jurisdiction present here will also take the necessary steps to make the settlement of cross-border claims in the sub-region effective”.

The meeting is being chaired by the Chairman of the ECOWAS Brown Card Council of Bureaux, Mr Henry Bukari, who provided more details on the objectives of the meeting. According to him, “the main objective of the Conakry meeting is to revise the technical texts relating to the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme, particularly those concerning the settlement of cross-border claims. Our basic claims settlement text is largely influenced by the CIMA Code. And in view of recent developments over the past decade, it was important to revise it in the light of developments in other sub-regional systems. After this review, we are confident that the population will be better covered and that we will achieve a speedy settlement of accident victims in the sub-region. Our main concern here in Guinea is to take care of those who take out insurance as well as all the populations involved in ECOWAS.

Mrs Marie Bilé, Chargé d’Affaires of the Resident Representative of the ECOWAS Commission in Guinea, explained the reason for her presence: “I am here not only to learn, but also to ensure that ECOWAS texts are respected in order to have a regional community that is inclusive enough for the well-being of all.”

Mr Ciré Bah, Chairman of the Guinean National Office of the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme, said he was pleased to have hosted the first meeting of their organization. “On behalf of the Guinean insurance market, I would like to express our satisfaction. The Guinean market is very honored to welcome many of you to this first ECOWAS Brown Card Zonal Meeting. The choice of Guinea to host both the first meeting of the Executive Committee and the first zonal meeting for the year 2024 testifies to the consideration that the ECOWAS Brown Card insurance scheme has for the Guinea National Office,” he said.

Among other matters being discussed revolved extensively around whether or not to include concubinage relationships when compensations are to be paid to accident victims who died as a result of cross-border accidents. It is expected that at the end of the meeting, a consensus will be reached as regards a standard practice which will be adopted in all jurisdictions under the Scheme.
This first meeting brought together more than 90 participants from the West African countries excluding Cape Verde which is an island country.
Key participants at the meeting included Mr Winfred Kwesi Dodzi, Secretary-General of the permanent Secretariat of the Scheme, Mr Benjamin Yamoah, Chairman of the Ghana National Bureau, Mr Richard Eshun, General Secretary of the Ghana National Bureau, and Mr Patrick Agyekum, immediate past General Secretary of the GNB and Mr Dicoh Balamine, also the immediate past General Secretary of the Cote D’Ivoire National Bureau.
Also present were Mr. Albert Siaw-Boateng, Director of Free Movement of the ECOWAS Commission and Ambassador Ali Bangura, the Chairman of the Sierra Leone National of Bureau of the ECOWAS Brown Card Insurance Scheme.

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