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SONARWA commits to boosting COMESA Yellow Card Scheme usage

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For the 33rd meeting of the Council of Bureau on the regional third-party motor vehicle insurance, delegates from member countries of the COMESA Yellow Card Scheme met to assess its performance and propose measures to boost its usage.

The COMESA yellow card scheme is a motor vehicle insurance scheme which is valid in all participating countries. It covers third-party liabilities and medical expenses for the driver of the vehicle and his passengers should they suffer any bodily injury as a result of an accident to an insured vehicle. It was created in 1986 to address the challenges of barriers to transport and trade development in the region.

“Rwanda being a landlocked country, the yellow card scheme allows a faster integration by facilitating trade and the movement of people. It is a simple and economical mechanism for insurers to meet the requirements of their inter-state motorists and it facilitates the movement of vehicles between member states,” says Tony Twahirwa, CEO of SONARWA General.

During the meeting, Rwanda was elected for the yellow card scheme chairmanship under SONARWA national bureau, with the national bureau of Zambia as the deputy chair and the national bureau of the Democratic Republic of Congo as the rapporteur that will follow up on the proceedings of the meeting. For a one-year term, the elected council will coordinate and follow up on the activities of the remaining bureau, collect contributions to run the daily activities of the scheme from prime insurers, receive claims from member countries and process them.

SONARWA newly elected committee will also help resolve some of the issues the previous council faced including unharmonized compensations in all member countries and unfavorable laws where in some member countries, there is no limit to the liabilities to be paid when a vehicle is involved in an accident. The meeting proposed a negotiation of laws that would allow insurers to set a roof when identifying liabilities in order to ease the process of reinsurance.

The meeting also discussed about the introduction of the digital yellow card under the theme ‘Transformation through digitalization’ and the changes it has brought regarding the usage of the yellow card. “Before the introduction of the digital yellow card, claims took up to three months to process and there was a growing issue of yellow card replicas in circulation. This move from manual to digital will ensure only authentic yellow cards are used and processing claims will be much easier,” Adds Twahirwa.

During its mandate, Rwanda national bureau under the stewardship of SONARWA will enforce harmonized policies and regulatory regimes across countries and establish a legal framework that will facilitate trade within the Common Market.

The COMESA yellow card scheme in now operational in twelve COMESA member countries and one non-member including Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The yellow card scheme combines over two hundred insurance companies and settles more than a thousand claims per year. It registers an annual income of twelve million dollars annually and connects 1.2 billion people across Africa.

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