Uninsured driving poses a serious risk to residents and tourists on Curaçao

February 6, 2024  –WILLEMSTAD – The high level of uninsured driving on Curaçao poses a serious risk to both residents and tourists on the island. Recently, it became clear – based on accident statistics from Forsensys – that an alarming 28 percent of drivers on Curaçao are driving without insurance. 

According to Ronald Ketellapper and Servaas Houben, both actuaries in the insurance industry, the Curaçao government needs to act. 

The severity of the situation is emphasized by the fact that victims of accidents caused by uninsured drivers often end up with uncovered property damage, as well as personal injury with all its financial and emotional consequences. Coverage on Curaçao amounts to 150,000 guilders per claim, often insufficient, especially when personal injury is involved. 

Think of the costs of hospitalization, potential rehabilitation, and assistive devices. But also, loss of income cannot be compensated. A self-employed person from Curaçao or the Netherlands who has to manage without income for six months because they were hit by an uninsured Curaçaoan simply has bad luck: that damage is not insured even though the law prescribes it. 

Enforce 

In response to this crisis, both actuaries propose that priority should be given to enforcing the law. This requires a coordinated effort by the government to ensure compliance with insurance requirements. The focus is on protecting innocent road users and tourists and ensuring a safer traffic environment. 

An interesting aspect is the comparison with insurance practices in other countries. While Curaçao’s minimum coverage amount for Compulsory Third-Party Liability (CTPL) insurance, set at 150,000 guilders, seems in line with regional standards, Ketellapper and Houben shed light on whether this coverage is sufficient given the high likelihood of traffic accidents and their severe consequences on Curaçao. 

The call for action is reinforced by the statistics: with an annual chance of sixteen percent of a traffic accident on Curaçao and a relatively high number of fatalities, namely in the range of 10-15 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is high compared to Europe, it becomes clear that it is not only about law enforcement but also about fundamentally protecting lives and reducing societal costs. 

The conclusion of both actuaries is clear: urgent action is needed. The government must not only enforce the law but also consider whether the current insurance standards are adequate. 

Additionally, there is a clear need for awareness among drivers about the serious consequences of uninsured driving. Only through a combined approach of enforcement, education, and policy reform can road safety on Curaçao be improved, and the number of uninsured drivers significantly reduced. 

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In the Netherlands, for example, the minimum required insured sum is €1.120 million for property damage and €5.6 million for personal injury. Germany has slightly higher amounts (€1.220 and €7.5 million, respectively). In the United Kingdom, the coverage must be at least £1.2 million. 

Within the United States, almost all states have mandatory CTPL coverage, but it is much more limited than in European countries. In California, the minimum coverage is $15,000 per injured person or $30,000 per incident with more injuries and $5,000 for property damage. In New York, the amounts are $25,000, $50,000, and $10,000, respectively, higher than California. 

In Trinidad and Tobago, the minimum required insured amount is TT$500,000 per person and TT$1 million per accident (1TT$ = 0.15 US$). 

Aruba: minimum coverage of Afl. 90,000 per incident (for vehicles carrying more than 6 persons, a maximum of Afl. 15,000 per transported person applies). 

BES Islands: US$50,280 per occurrence. 

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