The Insurance Guarantee Fund is an institution which has been specified under relevant provisions (Articles 96 to 119a) of the Act of May 22th, 2003 on compulsory insurance, Insurance Guarantee Fund and Polish Motor Insurers’ Bureau (“Ustawa z dnia 22 maja 2003 r. o Ubezpieczeniach Obowiązkowych, Ubezpieczeniowym Funduszu Gwarancyjnym i Polskim Biurze Ubezpieczycieli Komunikacyjnych”).
The main duty of the Insurance Guarantee Fund (furthermore as “IGF”) is the payment of compensations to the road accidents victims, which were caused by vehicle keepers who have not fulfilled the statutory obligation to insure the vehicle with mandatory civil liability insurance and farmers who have also failed to do so. The scope of IGF’s obligations also includes payment of compensation to the people injured in road collisions in a situation in which the perpetrator of this type of injury could not be determined.
The IGF also controls the fulfilment of the statutory obligation to insure the vehicle with mandatory civil liability insurance by the keepers of mechanical vehicles, mainly through a wide range of penalties. One of the main objectives of Insurance Guarantee Fund is to seek the most effective way to ensure that as few as possible keepers of mechanical vehicles don’t insure the vehicle with mandatory civil liability insurance. Anyone who uses a motor vehicle as well as every farmer running a farm has a legal obligation to buy a mandatory civil liability insurance and failure to comply with this obligation in accordance with Polish law is prosecuted.
When it comes to the aspect of liquidation of damages caused by an uninsured farmer, uninsured keeper of a motor vehicle or an unidentified motor vehicle keeper, it should be pointed out that it is crucial that some documents and statements should be collected by the injured party immediately after a road accident had occurred. Such documents and statements should include but are not limited to: precise details of the event, vehicle registration numbers, and, for greater precision, also the VIN numbers, the type and model of vehicles that took part in the collision. In addition, personal and contact data of people who participated in the accident should be collected as well. This includes the personal data of victims of the road accident, the witnesses of the event as well as the perpetrator of the accident. The most important thing in such case is to verify whether the party responsible for damage has a document which confirms that the statutory obligation to insure the vehicle with mandatory civil liability insurance has been fulfilled by this party. In a situation in which the perpetrator would be uninsured in the time when the accident had taken place, the injured person may file a claim via any insurance company freely chosen by him or her. This company must be an IGF member however, but given this condition has been met such insurance company must accept the application for such damage.
It should be noted that from a practical point of view, in every case it is important whether the perpetrator of the traffic incident remains unidentified or the perpetrator is known but only not insured.
In a situation in which the perpetrator of an incident remains undetermined the IGF makes a payment of compensation for personal damages, which encompasses compensation to the injured party as well as medical expenses, pensions, etc. The sufficient reason to demand compensation from the Insurance Guarantee Fund is the claim by the injured person that the damage suffered is related to the movement of a motor vehicle which keeper has not been identified.
The situation differs in the case of damage to the property, i.e. the mechanical vehicle. In such case the IGF would pay compensation for damages to the property only on condition that apart from the vehicle damage any participant of the accident has suffered an injury. Moreover the impairment of body functions or health disruption must last more than 14 days. Furthermore, if the aggrieved party can satisfy a claim based on a voluntary insurance contract, then the Insurance Guarantee Fund compensates the loss only in the part in which it cannot be covered by such voluntary insurance.
In the case in which the perpetrator of the road incident has not fulfilled the statutory obligation to insure the vehicle with mandatory civil liability insurance, the Insurance Guarantee Fund fully covers the personal losses of the victims of such traffic accident. When it comes to the damage to the property (i.e. the mechanical vehicle), the injured person who owns a voluntary insurance which could cover the property damages must first use this insurance before turning to the Insurance Guarantee Fund.
It should be indicated that in above mentioned cases the claims can be filed through virtually any insurance company. This company must be an IGF member, but given this condition has been met the insurance company must accept the application for such damage, as in this situation such entity has no right to refuse to accept the claim. Moreover the insurer, based on the data which is currently at his disposal, is obligated to carry out comprehensive liquidation proceedings, upon completion of which the insurer sends the case files to the Insurance Guarantee Fund in order for the IGF to make the payment of the appropriate compensation towards the injured party.
It is worth pointing out that the person responsible for carrying out the above described process is an employee of the insurance company. In a situation which justifies the payment of compensation by the IGF it is this employee’s duty to establish the existence of civil liability of the perpetrator of the accident and to determine the size of the damage and finally the legitimacy of the claims. After the insurance company prepares the complete documentation of the case, the case files are transferred to the Insurance Guarantee Fund, which is obligated to issue a binding decision regarding the payment of the compensation based on the submitted damage case file. It should be noted that in accordance with the polish law, the deadline for issuing such decision is 30 days, counting from the date of receipt of the complete damage case files by the IGF from the insurer. In a situation in which it would be impossible to analyse all the circumstances which are necessary to determine the liability of the IGF or determine the amount of any compensation, the IGF should issue its decision within 14 days of the date of explanation of all those circumstances. Regardless of the above an indisputable part of the compensation should be paid within 30 days of the date of obtaining damage case files by the Insurance Guarantee Fund.
Finally, it should be pointed out that the claim of the aggrieved party to the Insurance Guarantee Fund lapses after three years from the date on which the victim learned about the damage and the person obligated to compensate for the damage. However, this period may not exceed 10 years from the date on which the harmful event had occurred.