Motor Insurance – watch what you are buying.

As you know at JWS we are very proud of our own unique motor policies, providing extensions of cover which are better than most in the market, BUT we always ensure that we comply with the minimum regulated rates. That way, we cannot be criticised, our Insurers can ‘stand up and be counted’ and if competitors feel we have acted unfairly, we can ‘push our chests out’ and be certain, no criticism can be aimed at us.

Many Insurers have started to increase their Motor rates beyond the minimums allowed, owing to poor claims experience, and losing money on this particular class of business. At JWS, our claims stats are exemplary, and as such, we continue to enjoy special privileges, but still accepting the minimum rates as laid down by the industry.

Very recently, a prospect contacted me asking for a quotation on Motor insurance for a safari businesses tour vehicle, collecting passengers and taking them on game drives. There is talk that a new vehicle category, a TSV (Touring/Tour Operators Service Vehicle) will be introduced, but for now, these vehicles are classed as a PSV (Public Service Vehicle). This is a little harsh, as this classification includes busses, coaches, taxis, matatus, UBER vehicles, etc., which is the group of vehicles that produce the worst claims stats in the industry. However, that is the category, and so the minimum rate required is 5% of the vehicle value, plus KES 500 per passenger seat. So, a KES 5m Toyota Landcruiser with 8 seats, will have a premium of KES 254,000. On top of that, if you require full Excess Protector, Terrorism and Loss of Use, you may pay an extra KES 50,000.

So, when my client sent me his policy schedule, issued by his Bank with said vehicle on it and it showed a premium of KES 75,000 less, I said I would look into it. Fundamentally, the Agent (Bank) had quoted a Private Car rate, not a PSV, which has a minimum rate of 3.5%, and issued his Motor certificate as a Private Car.

Let’s look at the consequences; Firstly, our friends the Police, get to see your Motor certificates as they are stuck on the windscreen. They are colour coordinated as above and marked as to which category the vehicle is. So, for a PSV, it is that ‘vibrant orange colour and has PSV on it. For a car, its green and has Private Car shown. I do not think it needs Interpol to work out which is which!

As such, the first issue is explaining to a Police Officer, why you have a Private Car sticker when you are carrying 8 international visitors from JKIA to the Maasai Mara, with ‘Fred’s Safari Company’ emblazoned on the side of the vehicle.

That, I am afraid, is the least of your problems: the real problems come about if a serious accident happens, not a small dent in your bumper whilst crawling along Mombasa Road, but that serious crash, that writes off your vehicle and, God forbid, causes injuries to your passengers and maybe the driver of the other vehicle. Any Insurer, Kenyan or otherwise, would immediately appoint an investigator and I am afraid to say the likelihood is that your claim will be refused on the grounds of ‘non-disclosure’. The Insurance agent will claim they thought they were insuring a Private Car, and it is a PSV. Of course, you may have told the Bank/Agent/your Broker, so the only avenue left, for you, is to sue your Broker. Time, money, and a lot of pain!

In summary, there is no such thing as ‘cheap’ Motor insurance. There are minimum rates, and, like JWS’ own scheme, there are many extensions that are included, but be aware of anyone undercutting the market…you could pay the price!

If you have any questions on the above, please email us at pink@jwseagon.com.