On January 11th 2017, insurance companies in Cameroon signed a convention to pay indemnities to car owners who suffer material damage worth less than FCFA 500.000 within fifteen days of the accident so as to reduce the delay in making payments and build customers. One year down the road, the convention which was to go into effect immediately, is yet to be effective as there is conflicting information about the implementation of the new measure. While some companies say they have been implementing the measure since 1st July 2017, others say the measure only went into effect two months ago in November. More so, there are no testimonies of people who have benefitted from the new measure.
According to Lemb Aaron, Director of Public Transport of travellers, the delay in the implementation of the convention is due to modifications that had to be done on the convention as all the 18 insurance companies in Cameroon were not agreed on the terms of the accord. After the modifications that were ratified by 16 of the 18 companies, the work had to be centralised at the level of the association of insurance companies before being implemented. He attests that the measure started being implemented at the level of his insurance company on the 1st of July 2017. Meanwhile Ayinda Germain of SAAR insurance company, the measure started being implemented only as from the month of November. Attempts to get an independent confirmation information were futile partly due to the reticence of insurance companies to disclose information on beneficiaries or the availability of beneficiaries to testify. “People only complain when they are not compensated but when they receive money, they tell no one”, said Lemb Aaron. Meanwhile Ayinda Germain says studies has not yet been done on the subject and therefore there are no reliable statistics”.
Both insurers however said they have been training their personnel, sensitising motorists and distributing direct compensation forms to their customers. According to them, the major setbacks now to the implementation of the convention are difficulties in filling the new accident forms or motorists forgetting the document at home when leaving.
The novelty of the direct compensation is the latitude given to the two motorists involved in an accident to give the accident report by filling the designed form. This enables the insurance companies to decide who is at fault and the faultless customer is compensated immediately without necessarily waiting for the police or gendarmerie report which is drawn up within a period of three months, thereby avoiding delays in payment which henceforth will be done within fifteen days.