Four months after introducing the Safer PSV – an insurance scheme for the public service vehicle (PSV) sector – officials are reporting an improvement in the behaviour of PSV operators, suggesting this could result in “more reasonable” premiums for the industry.
However, Marketing Business Development Officer of Sagicor General Andre Barrow pointed out that this would be dependent on more PSV operators signing on and improving their behaviour, thereby displaying a lower level of risk to the sector.
The Safer PSV, which began last October, is an insurance plan spearheaded through a partnership between Sagicor General and the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Limited (ICBL).
The initiative incorporates ICBL’s underwriting knowledge and experience with the sector, with Sagicor’s telematic monitoring device, to develop a framework through which they would offer the insurance coverage to the sector.
The main objective of the initiative was to improve the general perception of the local public transportation system, mostly due to “frequent incidents of risky and horrendous acts performed on the road by some drivers”, ICBL’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer Goulbourne Alleyne had said during the launch last year.
While Barrow could not immediately say how many PSV operators had signed up so far, he told Barbados TODAY the interest had been significant and officials of the insurance companies were already having discussions with the PSV associations “about how we can make the benefits accessible” to the entire membership.
“We want to work with the members in the sector, the PSV associations, so that we can use the technology and our cooperation with ICBL to transform the culture of the sector by giving owners and drivers benefits for being good drivers and for driving safely,” Barrow said.
He explained that as more PSV drivers sign up and demonstrate safe driving habits, the cost of premiums would likely fall.
“We know how they are driving now and we are satisfied with their driving now; and that bodes well for the programme because as we increase numbers then we are able to keep those metrics as they are, then all participants stand to benefit because good driving and better driving will translate in even more reasonable premiums as the telematics allow premiums to be fair. It allow premiums to be based on actual facts and not simply on public perception of the sector,” Barrow explained.
He said it was difficult to say how the participants were driving before they signed up for the programme, although he suspected most of them did not have a problem in the first place.
“If that is the case, what we are finding right now is that the performance is great. The metrics are exceptional but as we get even greater numbers then we would monitor even more closely.
“Tracking is one of those things where when people know they are being monitored they change their behaviour. We have evidence of that on our other two programmes . . . . So once drivers know they are being monitored and they can be held accountable for the behaviour changes,” he said.
Insurance companies here have long been concerned that PSVs have been involved in too many unnecessary accidents, resulting in injuries and in some cases death, leading to insurance industry taking increased measures to limit their exposure to such risks and high premiums for PSVs.