Driving your Motor Vehicle into Singapore?

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).

You got a pillion rider and some liabilities!

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.

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17 comments for “Driving your Motor Vehicle into Singapore?

  1. November 10, 2011 at 04:17

    It’s in reality a nice and helpful piece of info. I’m happy that you just shared this useful info with us. Please keep us informed like this. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Joe Ee
    October 5, 2011 at 10:12

    This Americana case is interesting, may be useful in reviewing details in this case,

    Coward v. Motor Insurers’ Bureau (1963) 1 QB 259 (CA)

    In this matter Mr. Coward and Mr. Cole were work colleagues who had an arrangement regarding shared lifts to work. Cole would drive his motorbike and Coward would ride pillion in return for a weekly sum of money. Unfortunately both were killed in a road traffic accident and the wife of Mr. Coward made a claim for damages against the estate of Mr. Cole. However Cole’s insurance policy did not cover pillion passengers and as his estate had no assets or money to satisfy the judgment, Mrs. Coward pursued the Motor Insurance Bureau (MIB).

    The MIB have an agreement whereby accidents and consequential claims would be satisfied by the Government in circumstances where the driver has no relevant policy of insurance. However the rules covering this situation require Mr. Coward was carried for “hire or reward”. Consequently Mrs. Coward needed to prove that there was a contract in place between Coward and Cole for the lifts to work.

    There was clearly an offer of transport and this was accepted. In addition the consideration exchanged by the parties was the service of transport and the money paid by Mr. Coward. However there was a question over how formal this arrangement was so as to amount to an intention to create legal relations. Once again this matter progressed to the Court of Appeal and it was decided that notwithstanding the regular payment of money in return for the lift, it was not so formal as to create a contract. There were no terms as to how long this was to last, what would happen in default of payment or the availability of transport, or anything written down so as to at least make their intention clear.

    The practice of colleagues sharing a lift to work (or “car pooling”) is an accepted and wide spread practice. Parties will usually agree that one will take their car and in return the others will make a contribution towards the petrol costs. This is usually a matter of convenience, reducing costs or even a conscious decision to reduce emissions from each separately taking a vehicle. It cannot be said however that the agreement is so formal as to form a contract for the provision of this service. The contrast is to a previous example, that of public transport. There are no tickets, conditions or terms of agreement and no business or profit making organization is involved. There can be no obligation upon people in this scenario to ensure that transport is always made available to the party that pays. What would happen when the owner of the vehicle went on holiday or there was a shift change? In these circumstances an element of common sense must come into play. Most people will make informal agreements ranging from car pooling to picking up children from school or even being the designated driver on a night out. None of these create a contract as the intention is one of informal assistance or a mutual benefit, not to create legal relations.

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    • June 16, 2010 at 20:40

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  4. May 31, 2010 at 16:47

    There is a mistake in the posting: Malaysia Motor Insurance Bureau should be Singapore Motor Insurance Bureau.

    It is intended that MIB acronym used in the posting is that of Singapore MIB and not Malaysia MIB.

    With regrets.

  5. Anonymous
    May 26, 2010 at 08:34

    Can the third party claimant pursue a claim against MIB?

    • May 28, 2010 at 18:39

      I think there are quite a number of courts precedents in respect of this.

  6. Anonymous
    May 24, 2010 at 13:53

    wow! matching writeup to a photo posting?

  7. Anonymous
    May 23, 2010 at 23:26

    It is cruel not to admit and pay up to the poor madam but im not sure as im not insurance person.

    • May 24, 2010 at 20:37

      The industry is not some charity organisation but it must rethink of something for the future – we have to modernise the way we think…..

    • May 27, 2010 at 11:25

      evenif Kurnia did extend the passenger liability to the Insured, still the coverage is not going to be triggered simply becos’ the passenger in this case is a household member. This is a general exclusion.

      • May 28, 2010 at 18:44

        Because this is a mandatory thing in Singapore, the claimant is using the simple concept of UNINSURED LOSSES to file a claim from MIB. Example is when a person is knock down by a vehicle in Malaysia and the vehicle is not insured, claimant is eligible to file a claim with MIB…. simply because the injuries are part of the RTO’s compulsory cover and uninsured!

        • Anonymous
          May 29, 2010 at 11:03

          If this occurred in Malaysia, filing against MIB cannot succeed, firstly, the Insured did not extend the passenger liability cover and secondly, the third party claimant is a family member.

          • June 1, 2010 at 00:30

            Yes, agreed… but now the claimant is filing against the Singapore MIB… not Malaysia’s.

          • Andrew Wong
            July 2, 2011 at 18:09

            Agreed.

  8. May 23, 2010 at 00:01

    [New Post] Driving your Motor Vehicle into Singapore? – via @twitoaster http://www.malaysiainsurance.info/?p=343

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