By Karl Grey | Zurich
Each year, about 1,250,000 people become victims of fatal traffic accidents, and 50 million are injured or become disabled as a result of an accident on the road.
Besides representing a humanitarian crisis, road accidents have a significant impact on society and the insurance sector.
With more than a billion vehicles covered worldwide, insurers are directly affected by road traffic crashes. The frequency and severity of claims affect insurers’ revenues. Reducing the number of collisions is a matter of significant importance for insurers.
Together with the Global Road Safety Partnership (GRSP), AXA and Nestlé, Zurich co-authored the report ‘Insurance Guide on Road Safety.’ These are the most important findings:
- Road collisions cost the global economy about USD 1.855 trillion per year, which corresponds to between 1 and 3 percent of individual countries’ gross domestic product (GDP). In some countries, for example, South Africa and Uganda, where road crashes are a crucial challenge, they can cost up to 10 percent of GDP.
- Approximately 91 percent of the world’s collisions happen in lower-middle-income countries, where third-party motor liability coverage is often not obligatory.
- Fatality rates are more than twice as high in Africa (26.6 fatalities per 100,000 people) than in Europe (9.3 fatalities per 100,000 people). Yet insurers spend USD 100 billion to compensate the victims of road collisions in Europe; by contrast the figure is less than one-tenth that in Africa (USD 7 billion).
Insurers are natural road safety advocates, having a real reason to reduce risks that cause them, and the means to encourage safer driving.
“With 1.25 million people killed in road traffic collisions every year, and at least 50 million people seriously injured, road safety is something that everybody – road users, companies, governments and society – should take seriously,” says Karl Gray, Global Head of Casualty and Motor at Zurich Insurance Company. “At Zurich we are passionate about road safety and we’re proud to be part of the ‘Insurance for Safer Roads’ initiative.”
“Road safety should not be seen as competitive, so we are pleased to be involved in this important partnership with our fellow insurer AXA, along with one of our longest standing customers, Nestlé, and the GRSP. The insurance industry has a key role to play in improving road safety, and we look forward to welcoming more insurers and insurance brokers to this initiative. If we all work together, we can make a real difference to the safety of our customers – and we can help to achieve the ambitious road safety targets in the sustainable development goals of the United Nations.”