With effect from this month, September 2019, all vehicles and motorbikes in The Gambia are required to acquire the Brown Card Insurance Certificate alongside the normal Third Party Motor Insurance, the Gambia National Bureau of Brown Card has said.
The Brown Card is a motor insurance policy which serves as a common insurance cover against third party liabilities that motorists may incur while driving within the ECOWAS member states.
The Card is meant to ensure prompt and fair compensation to victims of motor accidents caused by non-resident motorists from other ECOWAS member states visiting their territory.
Saihou Samba, secretary general of the Gambia National Bureau, said with the commencement of the automatic issuance of the Brown Card certificate, vehicles that are being newly registered for motor insurance policy must obtain the Brown Card certificate together with the local motor Third Party Insurance cover.
“Motorists with a valid Third Party policy would only be required to acquire the Brown Card certificate upon renewal or upon request,” he explained.
Mr Samba was speaking at a daylong forum organised by the National Bureau to sensitise stakeholders, including state security apparatuses, and representatives from the Social Security, Gambia Ports Authority and the different transport unions and association in the country.
Gambia’s commencement of the automatic issuance of the Brown Card makes it the 10th country in the ECOWAS sub-region to implement the Supplementary Act which was adopted in June 2017 giving effect to the automatic issuance.
Dawda Sarge, chairman of the National Bureau, said the Supplementary Act was adopted at the 51st Ordinary Session of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government in June 2017.
“Following the adoption and ratification, all ECOWAS member states were required to implement the provisions of the act within the shortest possible time,” he said.
“It is pertinent to note that this particular act could be one of the first ECOWAS agreements signed by President Adama Barrow since assuming office in January 2017.”
Since June 2017, Benin, Guinea Conakry and Mali have implemented the automatic issuance of the Brown Card, bringing the total number of countries already implementing the automatic scheme to nine (9) out of fourteen (14) ECOWAS countries that are part of the scheme.
Six countries had earlier than June 2017 voluntarily introduced the automatic issuance of the Brown Card.
Pa Alieu Sillah, Commissioner for Insurance at the Central Bank of The Gambia, said the ECOWAS Brown Card has come a long way in providing a common system for the compensation of motor vehicle accidents in member states.
“It provides the sub-region with a vital instrument for integration more than any protocol,” he said.
Mr Sillah reiterated that the issuance of the Brown Card should no longer be optional following the implementation of the automatic cover.
The Brown Card cost
The Commission for Insurance explained that to give effect to the Supplementary Act, the Central Bank has engaged and agreed with the National Bureau and other stakeholders on relevant issues of the automatic Brown Card key among which is the cost.
With the automatic issuance of the Brown Card, the cost of the certificate plus premium is at most D325 flat. That is to say irrespective of the country that a motorist is traveling to, the Brown Card cost remains the same.
Before now, the Brown Card was charged at the same price as the premium of Third Party Motor Insurance the minimum of which was D750.
For instance, motorists who needed the Brown Card pay D750 for the certificate in addition to the Third Party policy that they had paid already and cost of the certificate increases by 25% for any extra country to be visited within Ecowas.
Ecowas Ambassador to The Gambia, Madam Vaba Gayflor, said the automatic issuance of the Brown Card would facilitate free movement of goods and persons and hence foster economic integration.
“The scheme is in line with the ECOWAS vision of moving from ‘ECOWAS of States’ to ‘ECOWAS of People’,” she said.