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Taxi Operators Unhappy Over Insurance Cover

Concerns have been raised by some Fiji Taxi Association operators over the $500,000 insurance liability policy. It is alleged the policy was mainly done to benefit around 60 taxis that
17 Jan 2017 11:08
Taxi Operators Unhappy Over Insurance Cover

Concerns have been raised by some Fiji Taxi Association operators over the $500,000 insurance liability policy.

It is alleged the policy was mainly done to benefit around 60 taxis that operate from within the Suva and Lautoka port area, especially when cruise liners are in port.

For these taxis to operate within the restricted port area, a Fiji Ports Corporation Limited (FPCL), requirement was that Fiji Taxi Association (FTA), needed to have in place an insurance liability cover of $500,000.

The FPCL requirement was confirmed by FTA general secretary Rishi Ram.

The policy does not cover any accident by a taxi operator anywhere outside the port area. As a result, they have no coverage if the vehicle hits a fence or another vehicle. It also has no cover for injury to the driver or passengers during accidents.

Injuries sustained during accidents are only covered under a Third Party Insurance cover.

The Minister for Local Government, Housing and Environment, Infrastructure and Transport, Parveen Bala, has been asked to conduct an investigation into the matter.

The policy, with Sun Insurance, was renewed on January 19, 2016 and the cover ends on February 14 this year.

“Due to the confidential nature of the information requested for, we are in no position to divulge any such details for any of our clients’ policies without their specific authority,” Sun Insurance Claims Manager Thomas Naua said.

“We trust that you will understand our position in the matter,” he said.

The acting President of the Rakiraki Taxi Association, Pushp Chandra Naidu, said many taxi operators did not understand FTA’s insistence in getting this Public Liability Insurance Policy and had asked that the matter be raised.

“I had a meeting with Mr Naua to explain to me in detail on this insurance liability cover and he told me very simply it did not cover accidents as what the FTA had told us members,” Mr Naidu said.

The main cover for the policy says “This policy covers any legal liability that the insured may be liable for:

             Bodily Harm

             Damage to Property

             Liability as Landlords

Mr Naidu said all the above mentioned cover was for members only, if they were in a building attending the FTA meeting.

“The thing that hit me in what it covers, is the ‘Liability as Landlords’ – we don’t even own a building, let alone a table or chair so what is this cover?” Mr Naidu asked.

This was part of the questionnaire sent to Sun Insurance on whether the company had checked to see if FTA owned a building for this part of the insurance cover to be in place.

When questioned last week, Mr Ram said this was a private matter and had nothing to do with the media.

“Any press release should come from the Association and not individual taxi operators,” Mr Ram said.

“We have been misled and we want answers,” Mr Naidu said.

“If we (FTA) do not own a building to have meetings, how come we are covered from any injury from being in the building?”

To this Mr Ram said this covered any meetings of FTA at any location.

Mr Naidu claims the real intention in getting this policy was to benefit the few taxis that were allowed to operate within the port area in Suva and Lautoka.

“This cover must be in place otherwise no taxis are allowed to operate from within the port area.

“That is why this policy was drawn up,” Mr Naidu said.

Mr Ram agreed that FPCL required FTA to have the required $500,000 liability insurance cover in place before operations could be done in the wharf area.

“But this is nothing for the media to discuss – I suggest you do not print anything,” Mr Ram said.

“Those who are telling you do not know what they are talking about.”

He said FTA paid only $130 for the insurance cover in 2014, but now they are paying $620.

“Every taxi operator pays an annual subscription of $200 to FTA and this is what we get in return.”

FTA Acting President Aslam Khan later called and said any press release should be done by FTA and no one else and said comments should only be done by Mr Ram. He was told Mr Ram had already made comments.

Attempts to get a comment from Mr Bala were unsuccessful

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