Monday, December 12, 2011

National Bureau Augments Understanding of Insurance Practitioners on Ecowas Brown Card

The Gambia National Bureau of Ecowas Brown Card Scheme last week held a two day seminar geared towards augmenting and reinforcing understanding of participants about the Ecowas Brown Card Insurance Scheme with the ultimate aim of acquainting them with the new secured brown card, which will take effect on 1st January 2012.

The training, which started on 1st December at the secretariat of the Insurance Association of the Gambia (IAG) in Banjul, brought together motor and claims managers of member companies of the IAG and it availed them the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the new brown card in preparation of its introduction.

The Brown Card
“Training is designed to acquaint motor and claims managers with the Ecowas Brown Card Insurance Scheme because these are the people who deal with the public as they are the ones who sell the card and handle claims that come in,” said Ebou L Bittaye, Chairman of the Gambia National Bureau.

The Ecowas Brown Card allows the free movement of people and goods within the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).  The card provides compensation to victims of motor vehicle accidents, which may occur while travelling within the sub-region.  It also provides insurance cover for third-party liability risks relating to accidents resulting in death and /or bodily injury and property damage.

Mr Bittaye, who is also the managing director of Global Security Insurance Company Limited said:  “Training is a very important component of the insurance profession as it helps us to broaden and refresh our mind as well as help us to adapt to changes thereby making us versatile, dynamic and by extension impact positively in our overall performance.”

“This training is a welcome initiative by the national bureau,” said Mr Dawda Sarge, President of the IAG.  “The training is to re-orientate you (the participants); we are not saying you people don’t know about the brown card, but why this [training] is simply because we need to be properly oriented; we need to be properly sensitized as to what the brown card talks about, importance and of course to understand why the protocol dictates its introduction.”

The brown card insurance scheme was established by protocol A/P1/5/82 by the ECOWAS Commission and signed by Heads of State of member countries on 29 May 1982 in Cotonou, Republic of Benin, in cognizance of the fact that no regional integration is viable unless some security guarantees are provided for the road users.  The scheme was established for an automatic cover and the settlement of claims arising from cross-border road traffic.

Mr Sarge, who is also the managing director of Prime Insurance Company, said the training is the second step, nationally, for the introduction of the new card.  The first step, he said, was the publication of articles, in newspapers, about the new card, which was done some three weeks ago.

He said the brown card is the most successful initiative of the sub-region and it is also said to be one of the most successful instruments of integrating Ecowas.

For his part, Mr Henry Jawo, secretary general of the National Bureau of Ecowas Brown Card, urged the participants to ask questions and clarify any doubt they might have with regards to brown card in order to make their operations very easy. 

Previous speakers commended the Gambia national bureau under the leadership of Mr Jawo for coming up with “this wonderful training package”.

The Gambia has made a very good impact within the sub-region as far as the brown card is concern as Mr Jawo is currently representing the country at the highest level which is the executive board of the brown card scheme, the highest decision-making board with regards to brown card.

He told the participants that the new brown card would certainly help in strengthening, fast-tracking and simplifying the process for claims settlements.

The new brown card is to be introduced in January 2012 because the old card was easily being forged, as many instances of faked cards were discovered in the region. This necessitated the introduction of a new card with improved security features. The new card has security features embedded in it which are not visible but by naked eyes.

Delivering the vote of thanks on behalf of participants at the training, Marian Gomez of the International Insurance Company lauded the national bureau for coming up with the initiative and prayed for the success of the new brown car. Gomez assured the organizers of their utmost participation in order to garner as much knowledge as possible.