The Council of Bureaux (CoB) is the organisation acting for the protection of cross-border road traffic victims by Coordinating the activities of the different National Motor Insurers’ Bureaux that are members of the Green Card System.
The CoB operates under the United Nations’ aegis and also cooperates with the EU Institutions to improve the free movement of vehicles and the settlement of internal motor accident claims but it has no political or lobbying purpose.
The CoB Secretariat is located in Brussels.
46 National Insurers’ Bureaux representing more than 1500 motor insurers in 47 countries in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East.
Acting as a Secretariat for the bodies applying the European Motor Insurance Directives: Compensation Bodies, Guarantee Funds and Information Centres in 31 Member States of the European Economic Area (EEA).
The Green Card System
The Green Card System is a protection mechanism for victims of cross-border road traffic accidents. It consists of 47 member countries represented by 46 National Insurers’ Bureaux.
Stimulated by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), the system was founded in 1949 (on the basis of Recommendation No. 5 adopted by the Working Party on Road Transport of the Inland Transport Committee) in order to facilitate cross-border traffic.
The functions of the Green Card Bureaux
A National Insurers’ Bureau (Green Card Bureau) guarantees that a victim, suffering damages from a road traffic accident caused by a foreign vehicle (originating from another country participating in the system) will be compensated in the country of accident. The National Insurers’ Bureau of the country of accident can, in a second step, recover all compensations paid from the National Insurers’ Bureau of the country where the liable vehicle originates from.
Each Green Card Bureau has two functions:
– As a “Bureau of the country of the accident” or “Handling Bureau”, it has responsibility in accordance with national legal provisions for Compulsory Motor Third Party Liability Insurance for the handling and settlement of claims arising from accidents caused by visiting motorists.
– As a “Guaranteeing Bureau” it guarantees certificates of Motor Insurance – (“Green Cards”) which are issued by its member insurance companies to their policyholders.
National Bureaux cooperate on the basis of the Internal Regulations signed bilaterally between each of them and operate with the recognition and approval of their Governments.
Encouraged by European initiatives, several Member Countries of the Green Card System have replaced the Green Card by a Multilateral Agreement recognizing each other’s MTPL insurance on the basis of the “territory in which a vehicle is normally based”. In most cases, a motor vehicle is normally based in the territory of the country of which it bears the registration (license) plate. On the basis of that plate, the vehicle will be deemed to be properly insured (even if it is, contrary to the rules, not insured) and will be allowed on the territory of a visited country (provided that this country is also a signatory to the Multilateral Agreement). The national Bureau of the country in which the vehicle is normally based will guarantee the reimbursement of all damages caused by this vehicle in other countries, even if the vehicle would turn out not to be properly insured.
The Green Card System is primarily but not exclusively a European System. All Member States of the European Economic Area (EEA) participate in the Green Card System. Several countries in the Middle East and bordering the Mediterranean Sea also actively participate in the System.
The geographical scope of the Green Card System extends to those countries lying to the West of the Ural Mountains and the Caspian Sea as well as to those countries bordering the Mediterranean Sea.