Damage from traffic accidents totaled $116 million in 2004, most of it unrecoverable because most vehicle owners aren’t insured, officials and insurance industry experts said Monday.
“The loss of property of equipment is equal to $116 million, about three percent of our GDP,” Minister of Public Works and Transportation Sun Chanthol said Monday. “It’s a roughly 10 percent increase from 2003.”
He said the number of accidents is also increasing each year.
“Most of the accidents are from motorcycles. They don’t obey the rules and are very careless,” Sun Chanthol added. “Some accidents are from [drunk driving].”
Charles Cheo, executive director of Forte Insurance, said insuring motorists is a risky business in Cambodia.
“As people get more affluent and roads get better, there are more cars on the road, people move faster and more accidents happen. Technically, it makes insuring vehicles more expensive,” he said Monday.
Almost 90 percent of the vehicles Forte insures belong to corporations and organizations, said Youk Chanroeunrith, operations director for Forte Insurance.
Insuring the thousands of individuals who drive motorbikes is difficult because many are not registered or do not have valid addresses, both of which are requirements for receiving insurance, Youk Chanroeunrith said.
A further impediment may be the cost. The price of insuring a private vehicle is $100 to $150 per year at Forte, he said.
Many companies and organizations lost their vehicle insurance when Indochine Insurance, formerly the nation’s largest insurance provider, collapsed on Oct 22 because it was unable to secure the $7 million in capital needed for an insurance firm to operate here.
The UN Development Program, the World Health Organization, Licadho and Indochina Research were all formerly insured by Indochine Insurance for their vehicles.
Tim Smyth, managing director of Indochina Research, said that since Indochine went out of business, most drivers have turned to Forte and Asia Insurance.