Intra-city movement in the national capital is expected to be disrupted today [Monday] as some commercial drivers begin a strike to register their displeasure over what they call excessive increase in insurance premium.
The Ghana Insurance Association in June last year proposed an 800% increase in motor insurance premiums, but following protest from the transport unions it was reduced to 400%.
Speaking to Citi News on the side-lines of a press conference held in Accra last week, the Chairman of the Progressive Commercial Drivers Union, Charles Danso, alleged that the Association is scheming to charge the 800% they resisted last year.
[contextly_sidebar id=”wODRtCQfCPviqOZjFG3eRFGVQP6E8bff”]“We are by this press conference, giving G.I.A., N.I.C. and the Ministry of Transport, two days within which to reduce the motor insurance premium rate to the agreed percentage of between 240%-260% “Failure to do this will result in the call to all members of GPRTU, GCTDA, and GRTCC nationwide to position themselves for a total strike action on Monday, February 8, 2016, to register our anger at what we consider a needless act of bad faith by the GIA, and an act of insensitivity by the NIC and Ministry of Transport,” Danso said in a statement.
This is not the first time drivers have threatened to embark on a strike over increased insurance premiums.
They threatened a similar action in 2015, arguing that insurance companies do not readily pay claims in the event of accidents, yet are eager to collect claims and increase same arbitrarily.
Kwame Danso says the increase is making life unbearable for them, adding they will push till the insurance charges are reduced.
“They are cheating us by percentage. Just after the Christmas they intend to increase it again. If they don’t want us to sleep, they too they won’t sleep. They have to come down to 240%. Formally we were paying Ghc70 and now if you go there you have to pay Ghc365 so you can imagine the percentage rise. We are going on strike and by all means they will reduce the charges. If they don’t; we know the next action to take.”
But the Ministry of Transport has rejected the drivers’ claims that the premiums went up by 400%.
According to the Transport Ministry, they are only aware of a 25% increase in third party insurance premiums which took effect from this year.
The Deputy Transport Minister, Joyce Bawa Motari, has called for calm, promising to engage the Ghana Insurers Association and the National Insurance Association to resolve the drivers’ concerns.
She also wants the insurance firms to explain the increases to the public.
“We’ve gotten to the stage where people want to take unusual steps and the idea is that whatever happens, government must take the blame. What happens in the insurance environment really has nothing to do with government. “If insurance premiums have gone up, I think it is the responsibility of the insurers to explain to the public why premiums are going up at this time,” she stated.
By: Ebenezer Afanyi Dadzie/citifmonline.com/Ghana