International insurance gets the green light

  • 1998-11-26
  • Sandra L. Medearis
RIGA - Truck drivers who travel international roads in their work next month must start carrying Green Cards as proof of insurance or be turned back at the borders. This card is not a permit to work abroad, but a compulsory pre-condition to drive in other Green Card System countries.

Green Cards will go on sale in Latvia on Dec. 1 when the country joins 42 countries in Europe, Africa and Asia in the London-based Green Card insurance convention.

The insurance card allows motorists to pass more easily through borders of member countries without having to stop to buy special insurance.

"Up to now, Green Cards [of other countries] have not been for sale in Latvia. Latvian drivers have to buy border insurance at each separate country border. It is very expensive and inconvenient," said Dzintra Isajeva of Latvian Traffic Office. All vehicles, commercial or private, traveling abroad under compulsory insurance must be covered by the Green Card.

Nine insurance companies will sell Green Cards. Isajeva expects them to sell 25,000 cards the first year. Prices set by the Cabinet of Ministers for the insurance to cover automobiles range from 23 lats for 15 days' coverage to 265 lats for a term of one year. For trucks over 3.5 tons, the premium is 30 to 346 lats.

The customer has the choice of two types of cards, a Latvian card for those who do not travel abroad often and an international card valid in all 42 countries of the Green Card system.

Latvia joined the Green Card system July 1. For the Latvian Green Card to be valid, Latvia had to sign a bilateral agreement with each country in the convention. In November, Latvia achieved the agreement with the last remaining country, Italy, that allowed the cards to go on sale Dec. 1.