Online motor insurance portal coming soon
The Insurance Association of Jamaica (IAJ) is currently undertaking the final phase of testing an insured vehicle information system (IVIS), which will allow motorists and other persons involved in accidents to determine whether or not those vehicles are insured.
The system will allow any member of the public, the police, as well as the tax authorities to determine the insurance status of a vehicle without solely relying on the certificate of insurance.
Newly installed president of the IAJ, Peter Levy, says the IVIS is one of four agenda items for his administration, the others being road safety, fraud, and insurance penetration. He says the IAJ is using IVIS to deal seriously with one aspect of the lawlessness on Jamaica's roads.
"We need to put out of business those criminals who sell counterfeit insurance certificates and cover notes, and reduce the number of uninsured vehicles that put at risk innocent motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians," Levy said in his first pronouncement after his installation at the IAJ offices in Kingston last Thursday.
Levy says the information system has been a long time in development and at great expense, noting that it was good that all general insurance companies had cooperated in providing information for the IVIS database.
Contacted for specifics, executive director of the IAJ, Orville Johnson, said the information available on IVIS is linked to the customer information files at all general insurance companies. He says the total cost of development of the system so far is $50 million, and that the final numbers could turn out to be more, since more work needs to be done.
Persons can access IVIS online at www.ivisja.com/web. The portal will answer queries when the licence plate number or the chassis number of a motor vehicle is entered on the system. Levy stressed that the public-access element of the system only gives information as to whether or not the motor vehicle is insured and does not reveal with which company the motor vehicle is insured or give any personal information, in line with the need for proper data protection.
The testing phase of IVIS will allow for public access, but when the system is fully operational, it will allow additional access to more details, such as all the information on the insurance certificate, through the police or the tax authorities. IVIS is expected to be fully commissioned by June this year, according to Levy. He says the IAJ is completing internal due diligence and working with eGov Jamaica Limited, the government agency charged with implementing technological solutions at all ministries, departments and agencies.
On the matter of road safety, Levy noted the decline over the last two years in the number of road fatalities involving motorbikes. He says that after an intensive training programme targeting motorcyclists in Westmoreland, bike crashes are down from 30 per cent of all road fatalities in 2016 to 18 per cent for the first quarter of 2018.
Levy says the IAJ, the umbrella organisation representing nine general and six insurance companies, sponsored a group of trainers, Shango Bikers, led by Tarik Kiddoe, who conducted a series of safety workshops in collaboration with the Road Safety Unit, the Police Traffic Department, and the Island Transport Authority. He said the workshops were so successful that companies in the delivery business have retained Shango Bikers to train their employees and are reporting a 40 per cent reduction in crashes.
Regarding insurance fraud, Levy says the IAJ will be raising public awareness of the types of fraud and the cost it imposes on law-abiding insurance customers, calling for public support in stamping out the problem. He said insurance fraud, whether on a large or small scale, is a crime, and that members of the IAJ intend to boost their anti-fraud capabilities, noting that the organisation will have more to say on the matter.
Less than 50 per cent of the estimated 750,000 motor vehicles on Jamaica's roads are insured despite being mandated by law to do so, according to Levy. The IAJ president says that as at September 2017, just over 310,000 of those motor vehicles carried insurance. He says that is even more lamentable when the low levels of insurance in life, health and registered pension plans are considered. All of that, coupled with low levels of property insurance, makes for a frightening picture that could spell disaster at both national and individual levels, he said.