JIS News

The Senate on Friday (Sept.16), acting on recommendations by the Court of Appeal to correct “injustices” relating to third parties in motor vehicle accidents, passed amendments to the Motor Vehicles Insurance (Third Party Risks) Act.
Opposition Senator Arthur Williams, who piloted the Bill, said that the Jamaican Court of Appeal had, in its judgments, indicated that the interpretation of Section 18 (1) of the Act had resulted in an injustice to injured parties and recommended that the statute be amended to avoid this injustice.
According to the Appeal Court, “if insurance companies agree to insure a party to the extent of a sum in excess of the statutory minimum and collect premiums based on that sum, it is unjust to require the companies to pay over to the injured party, only the minimum coverage required by the statute”.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Senator A.J. Nicholson, said the amendment was fully supported, because the “injustice of the situation” was seen.
“You can’t have insurance companies charging premiums and saying that you are insured for $10 million and when a judgment is given against a person who is injured by the person who that company insures, the law says you cannot go above a statutory minimum of one million dollars and the company that has taken from the insured person all of this money over the years says, we will put that windfall in our pockets and will go no more than the statutory limit says.”
“It is an injustice.it is good that we are doing something about it,” he pointed out. Furthermore, he noted that while it might be said that insurance companies may increase their premiums because of the changes to the law, “we intend to watch as legislators”.
“This has to do with the smaller persons in society and we can’t have persons, who because we seek to regularize the law, seek thereafter to come to make further windfall,” the Attorney General stated.The legislation was passed with one change.