Insurance companies are being asked not to adopt a ‘Peter pay for Paul’ policy when it comes to insuring public service vehicles (PSVs).
That cry has come from chairman of the Alliance for Owners of Public Transport Inc Roy Raphael, in the wake of Massy United Insurance’s recent decision not to renew the insurance of several PSVs.
He said while operators would exhaust all efforts to seek a meeting with officials from the insurance company to find a resolution, they were willing to go the route of the Supervisor of Insurance if they had to.
An outspoken Raphael told Barbados TODAY while he understood some PSV operators were causing headaches for insurance companies, he did not believe it was fair to punish every owner for the actions of few.
Instead, he said it would be more appropriate for insurance companies to penalize the offending operators and owners.
“The insurance companies in Barbados need to deal with individual persons and owners, rather than classifying everybody as high risk.
“As a PSV owner, this is our livelihood and we can’t make a living if we can’t get insurance for our PSVs. If we can’t get our vehicles insured it means that we have to take them off the road and we can’t make any money,” Raphael lamented.
He revealed that Massy United Insurance had notified some owners that their insurance would not be renewed.
Raphael said this was especially worrying because other insurance companies might eventually follow suit.
“Right now we have about five insurance companies who insure PSVs in Barbados and I am afraid that some of them may opt to come out of the portfolio,” he explained.
“That would mean that a number of our buses might have to park due to the fact that we won’t have any insurance.”
Raphael said while he was hopeful that a speedy solution could be reached, the operators were not afraid to take their case higher.
“I am not ruling out the possibility that we may want to approach the Supervisor of Insurance. We will be exploring all of our options,” he stated.
However, the Director of Business Development and Marketing at Massy United Insurance Micky Armstrong told Barbados TODAY the decision had been made based on the high number of claims in recent years with respect to PSVs.
He said they had taken a stance to only insure PSVs which were owner driven.
“The board took a decision not to insure PSVs which were not driven by owners, so that means a number of them don’t qualify for further insurance with Massy United Insurance,” Armstrong explained.
“It is a position which we did not take lightly and it was only taken after a deep analysis of the situation with regards to the high claims of insurance with respect to PSVs over the course of the years.
“I can understand some owners may own multiple PSVs and they would not be able to drive them all at once, but that is the stance which the board has taken and that has not changed,” he added.
Armstrong said however he was not against meeting with Raphael and would be willing to do so once contacted.
Raphael has suggested that in the same way the Transport Board has one insurance company writing its fleet, the same should be done for PSVs, whose annual insurance costs range between $5 000 to $18 000 for ZRs and $11 000 to $26 000 for minibuses.
The chairman readily admitted that the image of PSVs had been “dragged through the dirt” in the past, while suggesting that image had improved in recent times.
“Recently we have seen a steady improvement in the way PSVs operate . . . right now they aren’t like before.
“We have seen an improvement . . . we have seen improvements in persons wearing uniform, we have seen improvements in their behaviour and we have seen improvements in how they operate on the road.
“My suggestion to the insurance companies is for us to sit down and talk. We are very approachable,” Raphael insisted.