Statistics the key to disabled driver issue

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 June, 1993, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 June, 1993, 12:00am

I REFER to your article in May's Motoring Post regarding insurance for disabled drivers.

In the absence of statistics on the driving record of disabled drivers, underwriters can only follow their normal underwriting practices.

For example, if a driver cannot show he or she is entitled to a no-claim bonus, then it is most likely that gross premiums and excesses will be higher than for a driver with proven experience.

A high-powered sports car, driven by a 25-year-old, single male, will usually attract a loading.

A modified car will also usually attract a loading. These are a range of examples that can be quoted.

Every driver and vehicle legally on the road is licensed or certificated, according to the law, but the combination of driver and vehicle does not represent the same level of risk in every case - far from it.

In Hongkong, the pool of vehicles is rather small, and statistics are only available in broad categories, which leaves underwriters with the task of making decisions which are - often enough - based on informed intuition.

This is particularly true in the case of a first-time insurance buyer.

As a history builds up between the driver and his insurance company, underwriting should become less intuitive and more specific to driving history.

The General Insurance Council (GIC) has expressed its views on the wide issue of disabled drivers, and the purchase of motor vehicle insurance to the Disabled Drivers' Club (DDC), before the Legislative Council Panel on Finance and Taxation.

The GIC is trying to bring the DDC to the meeting table to assist it in formulating an insurance-purchasing policy for its members, with the view that this block of drivers - there are about 1,000 disabled drivers in Hongkong - can develop its own driving history as a group.

Insurers can then price motor vehicle policies for disabled drivers on the basis of fact, rather than intuition.

DAVID COSGROVE Sub-committee chairman General Insurance Council