KINGSTON — The Jamaica Association for Transport Owners and Operators said its members would operate their vehicles without insurance or end public passenger service, if insurance companies refused to renew their policies.
“We are giving Advantage General Insurance Company and other insurance companies 14 days to review their decision [not to insure public passenger vehicles]. If it is not reviewed, JATOO operators will continue business without insurance or do no business at all,” JATOO President Egerton Newman threatened yesterday.
But head of the Traffic Department Superintendent Radcliffe Lewis immediately rubbished the JATOO threat as “damn foolishness!”, saying he would have none of it.
“This is damn foolishness. JATOO knows they cannot take the bull by the horns; they need to go, and meet with the people from the insurance company and deal with their drivers,” Lewis said.
Newman told the Jamaica Observer that the insurance companies, particularly AGIC, the main insurer of such vehicles, were using taxis and other public transportation vehicles as a cover for high claims from vehicular accidents in the past year.
“The insurance company has been complaining about high claims they have been receiving, however, they say that it is always vehicles with PPV licences that make these claims when that is not true. They are using us as scapegoats to cover for individuals in society who actually make these claims,” Newman said.
The JATOO president accused AGIC of being afraid to reveal the real perpetrators, claiming: “The insurance company is afraid to say that it is the doctors and lawyers who are making these claims, and causing the losses. PPV licensed drivers are always seen as undisciplined when an accident takes places, but it is okay when it’s the lawyers and doctors.”
He noted that some accidents were not reported as the drivers repaired the damaged vehicles themselves.
“Only three per cent of road accidents are our fault, so why are we being targeted? Tell the public what the real problem is,” Newman declared.
He maintained that JATOO was taking the issue seriously and was adamant that a review must be made within two weeks. (Observer)