Urgent need for comprehensive motor insurance highlighted amidst South Africa’s unsafe driving epidemic
The significance of comprehensive motor insurance in South Africa has been heavily underlined following a recent study by Compare the Market Australia which identified South Africa as having one of the highest rates of unsafe drivers worldwide.
The study reveals a worrying statistic: South Africa reported 44.8 fatal accidents per 100,000 people, a figure that is seven times higher than that of the United Kingdom, the country with the safest drivers. Notably, the study also highlights a significant gender discrepancy, with male drivers in South Africa accounting for over three times as many fatal accidents as their female counterparts.
“These unsettling statistics emphasise the dire need for adequate motor insurance in a country where the likelihood of being involved in an accident is alarmingly high,” warns Christelle Colman, CEO and co-founder of Ami Underwriting Managers. “Moreover, approximately two-thirds of the vehicles on South African roads are uninsured. This means there’s an almost 70% chance that an accident might involve an uninsured driver.”
Colman stresses that the high number of uninsured motorists forces those who do insure their vehicles to shoulder higher premiums, effectively subsidising others. This situation does not only affect the insured financially but also negatively impacts their claim records.
Drawing attention to the notable gender disparity quote in the study, Colman suggests, “While it might be tempting to assume that male drivers are more hazardous on the roads, we must be cautious about assigning blame based on gender alone. Various factors contribute to these figures, including the fact that fewer women have drivers’ licences compared to men in South Africa.”
She further adds that insurance affordability is a challenge when a large segment of drivers does not carry their fair share of costs. “It is critical to increase the number of insured drivers on our roads, which will eventually result in lower motor insurance costs. The more contributions we receive, the lower the premiums and excesses we can offer to consumers,” Colman advocates.
Considering these facts, Colman calls for mandatory car insurance for every car owner in South Africa and suggests the reintroduction of compulsory third-party vehicle insurance legislation. This measure, she believes, would ensure that every driver on South African roads can adequately protect their assets and those of others in the event of an accident.
In the meantime, she urges all motorists to consider taking out an adequate insurance policy, even if it’s only third-party cover. “In the absence of mandatory third-party insurance, a proper insurance policy is a cost-effective way to safeguard against the financial impact of causing an accident,” she concludes.
Christelle Colman is the CEO and founder of Ami Underwriting Managers (Pty) Ltd. Ami is an underwriting agency for Lombard Insurance Co, dedicated to providing bespoke insurance products in the personal lines space to our chosen market segments, namely aspirational millennials and the high net-worth, wealth market. www.ami.co.za