Traffic Accident Tab Reaches $116 Million

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.

 

 

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