The Insurance Companies in Ghana are not innovative. Products and services are delivered to address the challenges of the day. Towing of broken-down vehicles on the highways of Ghana was and still is considered as the solution to partly address the menace of road accidents. Road accidents are claiming lives in a frightening manner.
The attempt to address this challenge in the past was state-led. The scheme adopted by the state to address the challenge initially would have created opportunity for a targeted businessman. The creation of such business deals with an individual in focus as the sole provider of such a service, is conducive for channeling corrupt deals. It was equally rejected in the past because aspects of the act required motorbike owners and users to pay for the towing of broken-down vehicles.
A replication of the polluter-pays principle in environmental tax needs to be done. The owners of vehicles should be the target in imposing the levy. Vehicles ordinarily block the roads and should be the major or main recipient of the levy to be imposed. That is, the payment of the levy should be incident on vehicle owners. Motorbikes barely break-down in the middle of the road to trigger road accidents. Therefore, motorbike owners should not be included in the Mandatory Towing Levy.
If the towing of broken-down vehicles is an important mechanism to half road accidents in the country, it should not be state-led fully. State agencies have not proven to be efficient. Corruption and mismanagement have engulfed and collapsed state some institutions. The state should create a conducive environment for the private sector, by enacting the right legal instrument to back its operation or implementation.
Another option is for the state to establish State Towing Companies at the Assemblies. Such Towing Companies will execute the policies of the National Road safety Authority at the subnational level. The mandatory towing levy that embraced motorbike owners is a regressive way of dealing with the menace. The citizens will reject any policy of clearing stationary vehicles with mandatory levies.
The Insurance companies have to be innovative to roll out products and services in towing stationary vehicles on the highways to help address the issue of road accident in the country. There is ample time to conduct market research to obtain the necessary information for the determination of the premium to be paid and the method to be adopted in towing faulty vehicles on our roads. The Insurance Companies need to quickly undertake a survey that will guide them in the formulation of their policies in developing a new product for the Ghanaian market.
The Insurance Companies can equally compulsorily fix an amount purposely for towing broken-down vehicles to be part of the premium for vehicle owners to pay. The collection of the premium can be done by the Insurance Companies while the provision of the towing services contracted by them (Insurance Companies). There is a huge market opportunity for the Insurance Companies to seize.
The Insurance Companies need to collaborate with private individuals to establish proper towing centers across the country. The capacity of some Insurance Companies to independently undertake towing services is weak and inadequate in this regard.
Road accidents have become a resistant enemy to us. Road accidents are increasingly prevalent but the seriousness attach to their prevention is methodically inefficient. The experts have identified the towing of defective vehicles as the solution to partly address this challenge. The state needs to reconsider the implementation of the Road Towing Levy.
Attempts to get the mandatory levy implemented in the past failed because the authorities were not democratic to incorporate ideas from persons who were not political elites. But the policy desires of the political elites should not always be the limiting or the determining factor in policy formulation. There is another opportunity for the law-makers to initiate and finalise a law that will save the lives of many. The law-makers need to utilise the opportunity available appropriately by considering towing insurance as the undisputable approach to reduce road accidents on the roads of Ghana.
The menace should be treated as a national emergency like Covid-19 as there is no vaccine to be produced to curb its disturbing consequences. Road accidents are killing dreadfully yet the solution for addressing the challenge is plainly disorganized.
Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey.
Economics Tutor, Advocate and Religion Enthusiast.