Regulator endorses drink-drive insurance

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 21 August, 2003, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 21 August, 2003, 12:00am

The mainland's top insurance regulator yesterday backed a Shanghai insurer's policy to cover drivers under the influence of alcohol.

The China Insurance Regulatory Commission said the Shanghai Tianan Insurance policy was in line with its plan to promote liability insurance.

A commission spokesman denied it had issued a public statement to support the insurer but said the fact the commission had approved the policy indicated it had the regulator's backing.

It was widely reported on mainland websites that the commission had issued a statement saying the policy should be promoted.

The commission spokesman said: 'This is a form of liability insurance and it will enable victims to receive compensation if the drivers who have consumed alcohol die in the accident or are unable to pay.'

The annual premium for the policy is 2,000 yuan (HK$1,880) and claimants will receive up to 250,000 yuan to cover compensation paid to victims of accidents they caused while driving under the influence of alcohol.

The company so far has sold 400 of the policies.

Critics said the move would encourage drink-driving and might send a message that the practice could be tolerated.

Figures released by the Ministry of Public Security show 5,666 drink-driving accidents were recorded in the first six months of the year, claiming 1,944 lives.

The commission spokesman said it planned to promote other forms of liability policies.

'Liability insurance can apply to doctors, lawyers, teachers and people in other walks of life,' he said.

'The goal is to offer greater protection to the public and consumers.'

Last week, the commission hosted a conference in Shenzhen to discuss the promotion of liability insurance on the mainland. At present, this covers areas such as consumer products, public safety, construction and public transport.