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A fundamental right of access to information – a word from RMI’s CEO

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This month I would like to re-iterate the outlook on driving key issues that impact the lives of our members and our customers.

Much has already been said by the RMI and its association, SAMBRA, on the importance of driving the consumer’s right of access to information and making available the vehicle identification numbers (VIN) in the Vehicle Salvage Database (VSD) of all vehicles that have previously been “written off” by insurers.

One thing that is very clear to me is the far-reaching effects of this issue. It is imperative that consumers, vehicle dealers, banks and insurers alike all have access to the necessary information in order to protect themselves against the purchase, refinancing or insurance of one of these vehicles.

Now that The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) and the Insurance Crime Bureau (ICB) have agreed to publish the VIN numbers of these vehicles, we need to focus on the implementation.

I feel it is imperative that all affected stakeholders are given the opportunity to participate in this key process. There was unanimous consensus at SAMBRA’s recent Vehicle Write-Off Conference in Johannesburg that inclusive representation of all stakeholders is critical. And yet, the RMI and SAMBRA have been excluded from the process. This is an urgent matter that I will be addressing with SAIA this month.

A solution, without the involvement of the key players like the RMI, does not make sense. All players need to be included on the VSD Working Committee if we are to find an optimal solution and avoid any further delays.

United with other stakeholders, we are committed to working collaboratively to ensure the smooth implementation and any fundamental changes that may be needed following the publication of the register. A formal post-accident inspection process by qualified professionals is a starting point. Between the Vehicle Testing Association (VTA), SAMBRA and other role players, an infrastructure already exists which could be utilised. The existing infrastructure may however need skills investment and more advanced equipment to do the required checks and inspections.

We appreciate that there are several peripheral issues, which require the insights of all stakeholders. However, we need to find a way to move this process forward and this cannot be done with the exclusion of the RMI and SAMBRA.

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