The Ministry of Public Works and Transport is considering allowing an insurance company to provide personal accident coverage to vehicle passengers using the Phnom Penh-Sihanoukville expressway.

According to the ministry, Ly Hour Insurance Plc, a subsidiary of Ly Hour Group, has submitted a request to provide this service.

On December 14, ministry secretary of state Pov Maly met with Ly Hour Group vice-president Ly Sopheap, who requested the ministry’s cooperation on the insurance service and other projects.

Maly emphasised the importance of insurance, but mentioned a number of challenges. He stated that the ministry would consider the company’s proposal and conduct a thorough study before making a decision.

“The ministry has accepted the company’s request, and will set a suitable date to co-organise a workshop in order to integrate knowledge about land transport and the benefits of accident insurance services to the public,” he said.

San Chey, executive director of the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (Ansa), said there are two types of expressway users: drivers and passengers. He found the idea of passenger insurance a complex one, saying further study would be required before passengers are obligated to carry insurance.

However, he encouraged the ministry to consider providing the option.

“We would like to see such a service, but I believe it should be optional, rather than an obligation. Not everyone travels on the expressway often, and many drivers already have insurance that would cover their passengers,” he said.

The expressway has charged tolls since November 1. About 7,000 vehicles use the road each weekday, with almost 20,000 vehicles travelling during weekends.