Elphas Dzvarire (24) of Rixon Ranch in Mhangura was hit by a car at Chiuye, Rushinga Road in Mt Darwin on the 23rd of February 2018.
By Lazarus Sauti
He was training to join the army when the accident happened.
“I was hit by a Toyota Altezza in February whilst I was training to join the army. The driver of the car failed to control his car and he hit me,” Dzvarire said, adding that the driver stopped and assisted him.
“He only paid $26 for my transport from the scene of the accident to Karanda Mission Hospital,” he said. “I used $485 to cover for other medical bills. Because I am unemployed, I was forced to sell 2 cows to foot for my medicals.”
Dzvarire said he tried to call the driver asking for help, but to no avail.
“Sometimes he ignores my calls,” he said, adding, “It’s so frustrating.”
Sadly, Dzvarire was not aware of road traffic accidents and third party insurance and this forced him to beg for money to foot his medical bills.
Nhau Chivingira, Insurance and Pensions Commission (IPEC) pensions manager, says most people, just like Dzvarire, are not aware about third party insurance cover and as such are forced to fork out large sums of money to foot for their medical bills.
He said third party insurance cover is the lowest statutory cover for all vehicles and its cover is limited to damages caused to other parties.
Chivingira explained that third party insurance is so termed because it does not cover damages to own vehicle.
For insurance assessor, Itai Muroyi, however, there is a catch: limit of cover on this policy is minimal.
“The statutory limit is $2.000. What it means is it will cover damages caused by insured to other parties up to the limit of $2.000,” he said. “Should the policy holder cause damages of over $2000, the insurance will cover up to their limit and the policy holder covers any amount above the limit.”
Muroyi added that insurance companies are law bidding entities.
“There insurance cover does not apply when policy holder or their driver is unlicensed. Consequently, it is important to ensure drivers are licensed at all times,” he said.
Chivingira and Muroyi affirm that third party insurance cover only applies when the policy holder is wrong, like in the case of the driver who hit Dzvarire.
According to the police report, the driver was speeding and this caused the accident.
To fully benefit from third party insurance cover, Chivingira urged victims of accidents to take number plates and contact IPEC so as to be assisted in activating policy claims.
“All we are doing is working with victims to enable them to be compensated,” he said, also discouraging motorists from buying fake insurance policies from ‘touts’ who sell them in streets.
Tatenda Chinoda, Information, Communication and Technology manager for the Traffic Safety Council of Zimbabwe adds that his organisation has joined forces with the Insurance Council of Zimbabwe (ICZ) in creating collective consciousness amongst travelers around issues to do with compensation in the event that one has been involved in a road traffic crash.
“The strategies of generating such awareness include road shows and mass media campaigns and the mandate is road safety education, training, publicity and research in cooperation with other stakeholders,” he told 263Chat.
Speaking on the sidelines of Insurance Awareness Day celebrations in Gweru recently, Technical Manager, Insurance Council of Zimbabwe, Nicholas Sayi, said there are a number of factors that contribute to traffic-related accidents and urged all people involved to play important roles in helping victims.
He said policy holders should carefully read and understand policy documents as they cover what should be done in the event of road accidents.
“Policy holders should dedicate time to examine policy documents. This will help them to act from an informed decision,” Sayi said.
He also encouraged the society to always ensure that those who are knowledgeable about insurance assist family members, relatives and neighbours about the process of claiming in the event of traffic-related accidents.
For Muroyi, motorists should simply have a comprehensive motor insurance cover, an all-encompassing motor insurance policy.
“Comprehensive motor insurance covers policy holder’s vehicle and their liability to third parties should they be the wrong party in an accident. It also covers hit and run situations,” he summed up.
As for Information Technology expert, George Magombeyi, insurers must invest in mobile technology as a channel to leverage integrated multi-distribution and implementation strategies.
“Insurers should embrace mobile technology to attract new customers who need more self-service options, as well as to modernise customer service tools to increase agent and policyholder satisfaction,” he summed up.