PROSPECT, Westmoreland — Minister of Science, Energy, Telecommunication and Transport Daryl Vaz says his ministry is currently looking into the issue of some insurance companies' refusal to insure electric vehicles (EVs).
The minister said he was hearing for the first time about the issue, which was brought to his attention last week in a Jamaica Observer business report.
"It is something that the ministry is looking into, based on the complaint that was made. But the policy, as it stands, does allow for used and new electric vehicles," stated Vaz.
In the Observer article, published last Wednesday, a lecturer in the Department of Life Sciences at The University of the West Indies, Mona, Dr Dwight Robinson said he purchased an EV in September but was unable to get it insured comprehensively with his insurer, Insurance Company of the West Indies (ICWI).
According to the article, president of ICWI Paul Lalor said the company would only refuse to insure an EV if it is a car imported by an individual or entity that is not one of the registered new car dealers, or if it is an imported used EV.
Said Vaz: "The insurance company has the right to decide whether they want to insure or what type of vehicle — whether new or used — but the bottom line is that the policy, which is what... [Government] is responsible for, allows for both. So, it is something that we will have to look into to see exactly what the issues are," stated Vaz.
"I suspect that the issue of the charging of the electric vehicles and the fact that there has been some reported incidents of fire — which obviously nobody knows what the true situation is in terms of the cause of the fire — [might be the cause of this decision by the insurer]," said Vaz, noting that the Government will speak on the matter in due course.
In the article, Robinson said the issue is something Government should look into, considering its push for EVs.
In June of last year Cabinet approved a policy to incentivise the importation of EVs. Government had also announced that it is making adjustments to the Motor Vehicle Import Policy to accommodate an EV concessional rate of 10 per cent.
Vaz, asked if the development is a blow to Government's push for EVs, said, "No, because the truth of the matter is that EV is a new technology. And I believe that once it shows that it can perform and that the vehicles are roadworthy, and ofcourse safe, the panic and the concerns will die down."