Wed | Jan 23, 2019

Insurance boss unaware of 'extraordinarily high' premiums for disabled drivers

Published:Tuesday | May 15, 2018 | 12:00 AMBrian Walker/Staff Reporter
Peter Levy

Peter Levy, president of the Insurance Association of Jamaica (IAJ), has said that he was unaware of insurance companies increasing car premiums for disabled drivers. Opposition Senator Floyd Morris made the claim in his contribution to the debate on the Road Traffic Bill in the Senate on Friday, which was delivered by Donna Scott-Mottley, leader of opposition business.

"The situation of motor vehicle insurance for persons with disabilities is a troubling matter. Persons with disabilities have reported to me that they are being charged premiums, extraordinarily high premiums, because of their disability. This is a discriminatory practice and it needs to stop," said Morris.

Levy told The Gleaner yesterday that he was not aware of any "standard increased premiums" for people with disabilities who were operating motor vehicles. He argued that individual companies might have made their decisions, but he had no knowledge of this.

"I would also say there are presumptions that anyone who has satisfied the licensing authority in order to get a driver's licence would be considered to be a standard risk for motor vehicle insurance," added Levy.

Morris also contended that disabled drivers did not feature prominently in road accidents locally. Therefore insurers should cease charging disabiled persons higher premiums.

According to the IAJ president, the age of a driver, his occupation and history of claims were factored into the computation of a higher premiums.

Sarah Newland-Martin, who sits on the National Advisory Council for Persons with Disabilities, told The Gleaner that she did not pay additional fees and she made checks with four disabled drivers whose premiums are unaffected.