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by Emmanuel Joseph

Motor insurers in Barbados are on the attack against operators of “pirates” in the public transport sector.

So concerned are they, that their representative body, the General Insurance Association of Barbados, has issued a public notice warning people who travel on these vehicles, that they may not be protected by insurance, if injured.

This morning, Vice-President of the GIAB, Anton Lovell, told partners attending the opening of new headquarters for Co-operators General Insurance Company Limited on Upper Collymore Rock, that the industry was witnessing a lot of uninsured vehicles on the road.

Lovell, who is also general manager of Co-operators General Insurance, said people were insuring vehicles for one purpose, but operating them for another.

“There are some illegal persons on the roads, currently. When I say illegal, in terms of provision of services. They have the vehicles insured for one purpose, but then they’re … illegally transporting persons. What people generally refer to as pirate vehicles,” he explained.

“What we are concerned of are persons riding in these vehicles – they are putting themselves at risk. In terms of accidents occurring, they may or may not be a situation where a question mark arises whether they will be adequately protected in case of an accident.

“Again we are warning persons to ensure that when they are travelling in vehicles, public service vehicles, they are actually registered to do so, and don’t ride in these pirate vehicles.”

Lovell said when insurers receive calls regarding drivers engaged in pirating, they are called in to discuss the matter and in some cases their policies are terminated.

“(It is) something we’ve got to continue doing. We are working closely with the police too to see if we could arrest this situation,” the insurance company head stated.

In the meantime, the GIAB has put the public on notice.

“The General Insurance Association of Barbados would like to draw to the attention of the public, the dangers of travelling as a fare-paying passenger in vehicles that are not registered or insured to carry such passengers,” it warned.

“You owe a duty to yourselves and your families, not to travel in these vehicles, as insurance coverage may not operate.”

The industry leaders observed that such a practice was also unfair to those who abide by the law, were properly registered and who had the appropriate insurance to carry passengers on assigned routes.

Commuters are also being told that some of those vehicles did not have insurance at all.

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