6% Tax, but No Motor Insurance Bureau

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By Dr Neil Gosine

A TAX on general insurance premiums at the rate of 6% is imposed on all general insurance placed with insurance companies.

It applies to the premiums charged on your car, house and commercial property (general insurance). The 6% tax is collected from policyholders and paid to the Board of Inland Revenue (BIR) by the insurance company. Life insurance and reinsurance premiums are exempt.

All citizens and businesses across Trinidad and Tobago have been paying this insurance premium tax of 6% since 1996. This tax applies to all commercial general insurance and to individual general insurance up to age 60.

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The purpose of this tax was originally carded to establish a Motor Insurance Bureau. This was supposed to pay for damages of victims involved in accidents and third-party liability, to compensate the victims of uninsured motor accidents. This would include the victims of “hit and run” accidents and persons who are damaged by vehicles hitting them.

Currently, all insurance companies’ clients are charged 6% tax on their insurance (under the Miscellaneous Taxes Act since 11th January 1996) for the express purpose of funding what was supposed to be the Motor Insurance Bureau.

To date the population is yet to enjoy the benefits of actually having in place, and yet the funds are being held in trust at the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) for this express purpose, we are told.

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This is a matter of urgent public interest. It’s been 27 years now and the tax is still being collected yet we have never had the Government account to the people where this money goes and what has it been used for.

The Motor Insurance Bureau has never been implemented to date and not one cent of this money has ever been paid to anyone.

Many citizens are not even aware that they are paying this 6% insurance premium tax. Up to now the population is yet to enjoy any benefits of actually accessing these funds as the bureau has never been put in place.

The funds allegedly are being held in trust at the CBTT as stated previously but some pertinent questions arise- What is the value of the fund? Has it been used for another purpose? Why hasn’t the Motor Insurance Bureau been put in place by the Government?

It is estimated that approximately two billion dollars have been collected to date and it may well be over this. So why are we not hearing anything about it?


Implementation of a Motor Insurance Bureau would ensure that victims of negligent, uninsured drivers and people damaged in accidents that did not have insurance coverage will be compensated for their injuries and medical bills at least to a limit as determined by whatever legislation is put in place.

This is a matter of urgent public interest.

The citizens of Trinidad and Tobago deserve to know why this money can not be accessed to date and should demand the implementation of the Motor Insurance Bureau or demand that this tax be immediately stopped.

If after 27 years, the Government has not implemented the Motor Insurance Bureau after collecting so much money, can any right-thinking person expect more efficient delivery of services from the government or the corporations from the reintroduction of the property tax?

The mismanagement by the government is astounding, they continue to force down our throats the property tax painting the picture it will fix the problems with the corporations but the reality is that it will not.


All it will do is introduce another tax with more incompetence and mismanagement of unaccountable funds by the city and borough corporations for citizens that are already suffering and overburdened at this time

All I can say is we continue to allow the government to carry on with their prevarication but the time has come where we must say enough is enough as we cannot afford another deception from the government again.

Neil Gosine is an insurance executive. He is also the treasurer of the UNC and a former chairman of the National Petroleum Marketing Company of Trinidad and Tobago. He holds a Doctorate in Business Administration, a Master’s in Business Administration MBA, BSC in Mathematics and a BA in Administrative Studies. The views and comments expressed in this column are not necessarily those of AZP News, a Division of Complete Image Limited.


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