Iam sure there is a very good reason why we in Uganda call our Mini-Buses, “Taxis”. In many other countries, a taxi is what we call a “Special Hire” whilst Mini-buses are called, well, Mini-Buses and of course, those magnificently bedecked monstrosities that ply the roads of Kenya are called affectionately “Matatus” presumably named after what may have been a standard fare of 3 bob! It is these fascinating differences that make each country unique. In Insurance there are quite bewildering differences between Uganda and other countries.
Take Motor Insurance as an interesting example. In some European countries the make, cubic capacity of the vehicle, the age of the only driver insured to drive it, the driver’s occupation, and where the driver actually lives are just a few of the basic questions that have to be meticulously answered in the proposal form. As an 18-year old sportsperson, living in my apartment in North London and driving a 2.6 litre Lotus Europa, whose top speed was slightly less than the speed of sound, my annual comprehensive Insurance was almost the same as the cost of the vehicle.
Conversely, a middle aged Vicar’s wife living in rural Devon and driving a 998 cc Mini could look forward to annual premiums that might fund a reasonable dinner at my then local Chinese restaurant. Vastly less expensive compared to my Lotus !
All very different than here in Uganda where we basically insure the vehicle and yes, there are loadings for sports cars and expensive 4-wheel drive or luxury models but the variation between the percentage charged for insuring a basic Kikumi and say, a top of the range European dream machine, is much less than in Europe. So it is the basic value of the vehicle that drives the premium calculation.
Let me give a frankly, quite frightening example. If you live in London, Paris or Rome, and want to insure one of the look-alike rally cars that growl up and down Kampala roads accelerating and decelerating whilst the driver pretends to look cool by wearing sunglasses when it is raining. This would cost over 40m USH regardless of the value of the vehicle. However, here in Uganda if the value of the very same vehicle was say 20m, then comprehensive insurance will likely cost less than 2m. Now that is quite a difference!
In fact, Motor Insurance here in Uganda is remarkably good value compared to many other countries in Africa including our friends in the southern part of our continent. Sandton City in Johannesburg has roads that are smoother than brand new pool tables. Here vehicles older than 3 years are looked on as being well past their sell by date and where drivers actually follow Traffic laws yet the Insurance charged on a weighted basis geared to the cost of the vehicle, is still higher than you will find in Uganda. This difference is typical of many classes of Insurance and the Ugandan Insurance industry is absolutely up for ensuring this continues.
One final observation as to global vehicle insurance rates. There are countries in North Africa where just about everyone seems to have comprehensive insurance. Third party only is unknown. I know they cannot love their vehicles more that us Ugandans love ours so why could this possibly be?
My considered opinion is that we Insurers have probably been too quiet for too long in sharing what a treasure we offer at such fantastic prices so I will unashamedly shout from the roof top of the new URA building in Kampala that Comprehensive insurance here in Uganda is probably the best value for money in Africa. So if you are as attached to your chariot of choice as I know nearly every Ugandan is, get yourself comprehensively covered and, do it today.