Court declines to suspend 50pc rise in car insurance

Anthony Mrima

Justice Anthony Mrima. FILE PHOTO | NMG

The High Court has declined to suspend the planned increase of premiums for motor vehicle insurance by up to 50 per cent.

Justice Anthony Mrima, instead certified the case filed by the Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC) as urgent and directed parties to appear for directions next week.

KHRC argues that the planned increase of premiums is illegal because there was no public participation.

The lobby group has further accused the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) of failing to protect the public and policy holders from such increase.

Lawyer Kelly Malenya for KHRC told Justice Mrima that a number of insurance companies have announced an increase of up to 50 per cent of premiums this January, for motor-vehicle comprehensive cover.

He further said some of the underwriters have announced that they will not offer a comprehensive insurance cover for motor vehicles which are older than 12 years or with a value of less than Sh600,000.

He submitted that considering the mandatory nature of motor vehicle insurance, the planned increase is discriminatory, unjustified and illegal. “The said actions also amount to a violation of consumer rights and are punitive, insensitive and oppressive,” he said.

The commission is seeking a declaration that the increase of premiums without public participation is illegal, null and void. Mr Malenya said ordinarily premiums for the comprehensive cover are tabulated using a definite formula, which is 4 per cent of the value of the motor-vehicle.