Africa Moyo BH24 Reporter
THE Insurance Council of Zimbabwe (ICZ) – which is the representative body of the short-term insurance industry – is set to be grilled by the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development over confusion pertaining to payments of insurance claims after accidents.
This follows complaints by public service vehicle passengers that they are left to foot their own hospital bills while families of the deceased battle to raise funds to bury their relatives after an accident.
Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Transport and Infrastructure Development chairperson Honourable Dexter Nduna told The Herald Business that they are concerned by the way payouts to victims of road accidents are being handled.
Nduna said insurers are reluctant to educate the public on how they can benefit from insurance cover in the event of an accident.
“It seems insurers want to keep as much money as they can for themselves instead of compensating accident victims.
“They (ICZ) are on our itinerary in the 5th Session of the 8th Parliament; we want to know why they are not educating the people on compensation. On the King Lion bus accident, ICZ got in and paid the victims because of growing calls for them to play ball.
“I am quite sure they were aware of their impending visit to parliament,” said Hon Nduna.
In June this year, ICZ spokesperson Ms Ringisai Batiya said they had paid $300 000 towards claims for the King Lion bus which crashed in Nyamakate, killing 43 people, along the Chirundu highway.
The ICZ was expecting to action more claims if they were filed by victims of the King Lion accident.
President Mugabe officially opened the 5th Session of the 8th Parliament in Harare yesterday.
The President expressed concern over the high number of road accidents which continue to claim many lives.
He said a Motor Vehicle Fund would be created during the life of the 5th Session of the 8th Parliament to bring relief to survivors of accidents and families of victims.
Hon Nduna said Third Party vehicle licences generate $100 million annually while an estimated 80 000 public service vehicles plying the country’s roads are contribute about $32 million per year.
“If a passenger has been killed in a road accident, they are entitled to a minimum of $3 000 without question while if someone has been injured, they should get $1 000.
“So there is need for passengers to be educated on this so that insurers are held accountable,” said Hon Nduna. Insurance experts say accident victims are entitled to up to $100 000 depending on the nature of injuries suffered.
Ms Batiya said accident victims can benefit from compensation of claims which cover death, bodily injury and material damage.
The benefits cover death and funeral expenses as well as hospital, ambulance and medication expenses.
She declined to specify the number of passengers that have benefitted from insurance cover since 2009, only saying that “many passengers” have been assisted.
ICZ says it has been conducting awareness campaigns to alert accident victims that they are entitled to insurance cover in the event of accidents.