HIDDEN DANGERS OF OBLIGATORY CAR INSURANCE IN THE ARMY

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The Defense Ministry is now organizing a complex of measures aimed at fulfilling the law on obligatory car insurance. In particular, Colonel Sergei Postnikov, chief of the military motor licensing and inspection department of the Defense Ministry, told WPS that an order to carry out measures linked with the necessity of fulfilling the law is underway. As is known, the Defense Ministry and other ministries must ensure their vehicles from January 1, 2004 (according to article 4 of the law). However, the Defense Ministry will not ensure all vehicles. According to article 4, obligatory car insurance will affect the owners of buses, cars and other vehicles used in economic activities of the Russian Armed Forces.

Colonel Postnikov explained that the Defense Ministry does have to ensure so-called transportation group. The Defense Ministry does not announce the quantity of such vehicles. Anyway this is a small group. The officer said that the matter concerns 50,000 to 100,000 vehicles. In addition, the Army has so-called training and combat vehicles (including tanks, armored personnel carriers, trailers, prime-movers, tractors, motorcycles, and more). The Defense Ministry will not have to ensure these vehicles. The Army uses training vehicles only during exercises.

As a rule, the Army does not use such vehicles in everyday life. The colonel said that such vehicles account for 20% of traffic accidents in the Army. In other words, the insurance system will not cover losses caused by every fifth traffic accident involving military vehicles. Victims will have to demand compensation via court as before.

In the meantime, obligatory car insurance is an advantage for the Defense Ministry. Statistical reports show that around 80% of traffic accidents involving the Army’s vehicles happen owing to military drivers’ fault. For instance, 150 traffic accidents connected with people’s death or injury happened in the Armed Forces in 2002. The Defense Ministry had to pay 1.2 million to each victim. It should be noted that this concerns fatal accidents. In the meantime, several dozen traffic accidents involving military drivers happen in Russia every day.

In other words, the Defense Ministry spends huge sums of money on compensation to victims every year. Representatives of the Defense Ministry say that the cost of insurance policies would be much lower than the sum of compensation paid to victims. It’s a big question if insurance companies will agree to issue insurance policies to the Army. The Defense Ministry plans that a tender among insurance companies will be held in October.

Colonel Postnikov stated that the military motor licensing and inspection department, the Central military budget department and the Finance Ministry are now determining the sum of money required for fulfilling the law on obligatory car insurance. It is supposed that this budget will amount to 300 million rubles. Postnikov noted that precisely the military motor licensing and inspection department determines the list and quantity of vehicles, which must be ensured.

The officer noted: “It is not ruled out that we will ensure part of training vehicles.”

Money for this purpose will be allocated from the 2004 budget. The Defense Ministry’s principal requirement to an insurance company is that it must have branches in all Federation subjects.

In the meantime, the military thinks that the Defense Ministry does not have enough time to test this scheme, and the government has not yet created an automated information system, which must register insurance policies, traffic accidents, vehicles and other information. This is a very important factor for the Defense Ministry because such information is secret. The order of using such information must be determined by a governmental decree, which has not been enacted yet.

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