It is an offence to enter Singapore without extending passenger-liability cover to your existing motor insurance policy. In Singapore passenger-liability cover is compulsory but Malaysian motor insurance policy has no auto-extension for such passenger-liability (or liability to passenger). Thus, it is a necessity for Malaysian Insured entering Singapore to extend their motor policy to include liability to their passenger(s).
In a classical case, some three years ago, Madam Koo Siew Thai was a pillion rider on her husband, Mr. Voon Siew Fah’s motorcycle on the way to work. Due to her husband’s negligence then, the motorcycle skidded along the Ayer Gajah Expressway (Singapore) and Madam Koo was severely injured. In the absence of such a passenger-liability extension, Koo’s claims for compensation against her husband’s motor insurance policy (with Kurnia) was rejected.
Koo was determined, or rather her lawyer has insisted on filing a claim against her husband…. and in the absence of such a passenger-liability cover, they have instead pursued litigation against (Singapore) Motor Insurer Bureau (MIB) for the uncovered bodily injury loss, which under Singapore’s laws should fall within a prescribed mandatory cover. “When someone goes to another country, he or she is not subject to the laws of the country where he or she is riding the bike but subject back to the laws of their place of residence?”
Kurnia, sensing some trouble brewing have decided on a pre-emptive move to thwart any possibilities of MIB having had to pay and then recovering the costs of compensation from them..subsequently! In the Singapore High Court on 21 May 2010, Kurnia have insisted the court should make the necessary declaration that it will not be liable for any claims brought against it by Madam Koo, irregardless whether her suit against MIB is successful or otherwise!
The outcome of the case – understood to be the first before the courts in Singapore – will have significant implications for the thousands of Malaysian pillion riders going in and out of Singapore every day.
While our industry is right behind Kurnia in support of this pre-emptive action….. perhaps it is right time for Malaysian insurers to reconsider some forms of extension cover for liability to passenger(s) whenever the vehicle is being used in Singapore. Some basic premium can be charged for such an extension and loading of this basic is levied if such extension is also required while in use within Malaysian soil.