Thursday, September 24, 2009

Crossborder car insurance scheme launched with neighbouring countries

Motorists are expected to be able to buy crossborder car insurance by the end of the year following yesterฌday's signing of an agreement between Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.

"The cooperation should benefit tourism and transport services in the Greater Mekong Subregion," Deputy Finance Minister Pruttichai Damrongrat said after presiding over the singing ceremony of the memoฌrandum of understanding on the Compulsory Insurance Scheme for Crossborder Motor Vehicles.

Implementation is expected to take place at the time of the 25th Sea Games, to be held in Vientiane in December, said Chantra Purnariksha, secretarygeneral of the Office of Insurance Commission.

Under the scheme, Thai motorists who want to travel to one or more of the other three countries will be able to buy vehicle insurance protection from 20 participating local firms, she said, adding that details and premium rates will be worked out later.

Under the MoU, each country plans to set up a Compulsory Insurance Centre to facilitate the crossborder scheme.

She said coverage under compulฌsory motor vehicle insurance differed in each country. For example, Thailand's law offers protection against bodily damage, while that in Laos covers both life and property damage.

"Compensation would be subject to the law of the country where the accident occurs; this is the beginฌning of our cooperation," added Chantra.

Holady Volalath, deputy managฌing director of Assurances G้n้rales du Laos, and senior officials repreฌsenting Vietnam and Cambodia also expressed their readiness to impleฌment the scheme when asked about the capacity of their car repair shops and hospital services.

Holady said the insurance premiฌum for compulsory car insurance in Laos was about Bt800 per year. The maximum compensation for loss of life is about Bt51,000, while cardamage compensation is about Bt20,800.

Under the MoU, the insurance premium will be calculated based on the US dollar exchange rate of the month in which the policy is purchased.

Holady said Malaysia and Singapore may join the project later, after Asean insurance officials meet in Laos next month.

It is estimated that the average number of annual Thai vehicle trips to Laos is about 500,000, with 250,000 to Vietnam and 100,000 to Cambodia. The number of vehicle trips from Laos to Thailand is estiฌmated to be about 250,000, and 300,000 from Cambodia.

The number of tourists from Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia passing border checkpoints annually is estimated to be 600,000, 100,000 and 350,000, respectively.

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