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Motor vehicle accident levy

Ana Madigibuli
Saturday, January 27, 2018

THE Consumer Council of Fiji had been lobbying for change in the Compulsory Third Party (CTP) policy for the past 10 years to create a just system where compensation is timely, fair and consistent for victims of road accidents or their families.

Now with the change being made afterthe implementation of the new Accident Compensation Act (ACA), issues such as accident victims incurring further costa as a result of delayed settlement and running around could be a thing of the past. The system though has yet to be tested.

With the implementation of the new compensation act as of January 1 this year over 6000 vehicle owners have been served at the new LTA Motor Vehicle Accident Levy (MVAL) collection counters around the country.

Consumer Council of Fiji officer-in-charge Bindula Devi said the levy could prove advantageous for consumers with the introduction of the No Fault Compensation Scheme.

"The scheme provides compensation for any personal injury or death as a result of an accident involving registered motor vehicles in Fiji without the need to establish fault or negligence.

"Vehicle owners are required to pay the levy when registering or renewing the registration of their vehicles with LTA.

"The scheme also covers both the driver and passengers inside the vehicle at the time of the accident. To apply for compensation consumers need to contact the Accident Compensation Commission Fiji (ACCF) and fill the required application form. The application must be lodged within three years of the accident.

"The maximum amounts payable by the ACCF in respect of personal injury suffered by a person as a result of an accident in Fiji are, in case of permanent partial incapacity $75,000, for permanent total incapacity $150,000 and in other cases $75,000.

"Consumers are also advised that there are conditions that may exclude them from compensation.

"Consumers are further reminded that the scheme is only applicable for accidents that occur on and after January 1. The levy serves as a premium for the compensation scheme administered by ACCF. Through the scheme, vehicle owners need not pay compulsory third party (CTP) insurance to insurance companies. "For those who have paid CTP to insurance companies in 2017, they have the option to transfer the unearned premium (from 1 January, 2018) to ACCF or continue to run off the policy until the end of the term. For the latter, motor vehicle are not required to pay premiums to LTA until the policy expires.

"If they choose to continue the policy until the end of its term, the Insurance Company will then pay ACCF an amount that is in line with the terms of their policy.

"There are different levies charged on the type of vehicles consumers possess or intend to purchase.

"Vehicle owners are urged to be mindful of the changes that have come into effect. They are also reminded that while the no fault scheme is in existence, it does not provide leeway for motorists to become complacent on the roads. Motorists need to practice safety and adhere to the national laws."

Ms Devi said there should be a timely payout for victims in any situation after an accident.

A Q&A published by the Reserve Bank of Fiji in this newspaper on exclusions relevant to compensation claims made to the ACCF Regulation 4 of the Accident Compensation Regulations 2017 states the following exclusions:

a) an application claiming compensation for a person, where the motor vehicle is being driven by or is in charge of that person and who:

(i) is driving under the influence of alcohol over the prescribed limit or under the influence of drugs;

(ii) is convicted of an offence of driving with an excess of alcohol or blood alcohol concentration over the prescribed limit;

(iii)fails or refuses to permit a breath test or a specimen of blood to be taken after being lawfully required to do so;

(iv) did not hold a valid driving licence authorising that person to drive the motor vehicle of the class or use for which it is registered; or

(v) has failed to comply with all the conditions of his or her driving licence;

b) an application claiming compensation for a person who is convicted of an offence for any act or omission that directly caused the accident;

c) an application claiming compensation for a person who suffered personal injury or death as a result of a suicide or attempted suicide;

d) an application claiming compensation for any injury or death that did not directly arise from the accident;

e) an application claiming compensation for the owner of a vehicle who, although has suffered personal injury or death as a result of the accident, had failed to pay the relevant levy as required by regulations for the payment of compensation for any personal injury or death as a result of an accident under the no fault compensation scheme.

LTA in highlighting process of MVAL payment stated that after vehicle owners paid their levy they would go into the process of getting their vehicle inspected by LTA.

If the vehicle is passed after inspection the vehicle owners are issued with their wheel tax.

"The levies are collected through LTASOFT point of sale system and details would be entered into the insurance update section of its system," LTA stated.

"There are no alternatives for MVAL unless regulated by the government of the day, MVAL is compulsory as it covers risks associated with accidents. The payment of MVAL is cheaper than the Compulsory Third Party and the act and new "No Fault Compensation" scheme applies to motor vehicle accidents in Fiji occurring on or after January 1, 2018.

"Motor vehicle owners no longer have to pay CTP insurance anymore instead they will pay a Motor Vehicle Accident levy. So far we have not incurred any issues with our customers on our processes."

"Prior to opening the MVAL collection counters in our office, a set of questions that would be asked often about ACCF MVAL with answers was published and each LTA office nationwide had posters and charts posted explaining the process of MVAL collection," the authority stated.

Fiji Taxi Association general secretary Rishi Ram said during the third party payout days the maximum claims for public service vehicles (taxis) was $40,000 so each passenger would take home $10,000 each.

He applauded the new Act as it meant more cash for victims for accidents.

"Now passengers will receive $75,000 each compared to the $10,000."

He said they had yet to test the new system with the payout time frame but hoped it would be timely so accident victims could be fairly treated when it came to payouts. Vehicle owner and Fiji Hybrid Gang Club general secretary Farhat Ali said what he liked most about the new Act was the time frame for accident victims to receive compensation had improved.

"Previously accident victims used to wait for several years after the accident to get compensated but now the wait has come to an end.

"Another thing I like about this new Act is that we as the motor vehicle owners do not have to run around for the third party policy anymore as everything is done under one roof. Everything is now being paid at LTA directly rather than running around to insurance agents to get a new third party policy."








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