The 35th annual general assembly of the Council of Bureaux of the Ecowas Brown Card Insurance Scheme is to examine the achievements, challenges and prospects of sub-regional integration in member states.
Holding under the theme “35 Years of Regional Integration Through Insurance – Achievements, Challenges and Prospects”, participants from ECOWAS member states are to meet in Banjul from October 29 to November 1, 2018.
The Brown Card Scheme was established by a protocol signed in May 1982 by head of states and governments in Cotonou, Benin to further strengthen the 1979 Ecowas protocol on free movement of persons and goods across national boundaries.
It is a motor insurance scheme which serves as a common insurance cover against third party liabilities that motorists may incur while driving across various national boundaries within Ecowas member states.
The 35th general assembly will discuss issues of free movement of people, goods and services in the sub-region as it relates to the brown card insurance scheme, according to the Gambia National Bureau which is hosting it in collaboration with the Central Bank of The Gambia and the Lome-based Permanent General Secretariat of the Scheme.
Saihou Samba, executive secretary Gambia National Bureau of Ecowas Brown Card Insurance Scheme, said the brown card is meant to ensure prompt and fair compensation to victims of motor accidents caused by non-resident motorists from other Ecowas member states visiting their territory.
The brown card is one of the first protocols to be implemented since the birth of the Ecowas in 1975.
“This protocol is one that is intended to aid trade, commerce and trans-human settlements,” Samba said on Wednesday. “The scheme could therefore be the life wire to the integration efforts of the region.”
The protocol has been domesticated in the laws of The Gambia by the Ecowas Brown Card Motor Third Party Act of 1987.
Gambia to assume chairmanship
The annual event is rotational, and has previously been held in The Gambia in 1998 and 2006.
Participants are expected from all the Ecowas member states and they include general secretaries, and chairpersons of national bureau, commissioners for Insurance (representing governments), staff members of motor underwriting companies, and representatives of the Ecowas commission.
The chairperson of the Gambia National Bureau, currently the vice chairperson of the Council of Bureaux, is expected to take over from the current Ivorian chairperson of the Council of Bureaux at the end of the conference and general assembly.
The brown card scheme functions through a network of National Bureaux disseminated in each of the member countries.
Each national bureau performs two main tasks: make the Brown Card available to resident motorist; and carry out investigations and settlements of claims arising from accidents incurred by brown card holders.
In The Gambia, the national bureau has also been engaged in stakeholder sensitization to enhance the general public’s understanding of the scheme.