Chapter 20 - Compulsory Insurance

Chapter 20 - Compulsory Insurance

22.2001 Definitions.


As used in this chapter:

(a) “Certificate of insurance” means a written certificate of any insurance carrier duly authorized to do business in American Samoa, certifying that there is in effect a motor vehicle liability policy for the benefit of the person required to furnish proof thereof.

(b) “Motor vehicle liability policy” means an “owner’s policy” or an “operator’s policy” of liability insurance, certified as provided in this chapter and issued by an insurance carrier duly authorized to transact business in the Territory of American Samoa to or for the benefit of the person named therein as insured.

22.2002 Certificate of insurance.


In order to control and regulate travel on the public highways and to provide for the public safety, effective 1 July 1967, no vehicle may be or continue to be registered in the name of any person unless that person files with the Director of Administrative Services a certificate of insurance consistent with the requirements of 22.1001 et seq., or, in lieu thereof, a bond as provided by 22.2016. The certificate shall give the effective date of the motor vehicle liability policy, which date shall be the same as the effective date of the certificate, and shall designate by explicit description or by appropriate reference all vehicles covered thereby.

22.2003 Owner’s liability policy.


An owner’s policy of liability insurance:

(1) shall designate by explicit description or appropriate reference all vehicles with respect to which coverage is thereby to be granted;

(2) shall insure the person named therein and any other person who uses the vehicle or vehicles with the express or implied permission of the named insured against loss from liability imposed by law for damages arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the vehicle or vehicles, subject to limits exclusive of interest and costs, with respect to each such vehicle, as follows:

(A) $10,000 for bodily injury to or death of one person in any one accident;

(B) subject to said limit for one person, $20,000 for bodily injury to or death of 2 or more persons in any one accident;

(C) $5,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident;

(3) shall, if the vehicle is being used in the transportation of passengers for hire, including taxicabs, insure the driver and all fare-paying passengers therein against loss from the liability imposed by law for damages arising out of the ownership, maintenance or use of the vehicle or vehicles, subject to limits exclusive of interest and costs, with respect to each vehicle as follows:

(A) $10,000 for bodily injury to or death of 1 person;

(B) $50,000 for bodily injury to or death of 2 or more persons in any one accident;

(C) $10,000 for injury to or destruction of property of others in any one accident.

22.2004 Operator’s liability policy.


An operator’s policy of liability insurance must insure the person named as insured therein against loss from the liability imposed upon him by law for damages arising out of the use by him of any motor vehicle not owned by him, within the same territorial limits and subject to the same limits of liability as are set forth in 22.2003 with respect to an owner’s policy of liability insurance.

22.2005 Required statements in policies.


(a) Motor vehicle liability policies must state:

(1) the name and address of the named insured;

(2) the coverage afforded

(3) the premium charged;

(4) the policy period;

(5) the limits of liability.

(b) The policy must contain an agreement or endorsement that insurance is provided thereunder in accordance with the coverage defined in this chapter as respects bodily injury and death, or property damage, or both, and is subject to all the provisions of this chapter.

22.2006 Liability toward employees need not be insured.


A motor vehicle liability policy need not insure any liability under any Workmen’s Compensation Law, nor any liability on account of bodily injury to or death of an employee of the insured while in the employment, other than domestic, of the insured, or while engaged in the operation, maintenance, or repair of any covered vehicle, nor any liability for damage to property owned by, rented to, in charge of or transported by the insured.

22.2007 Provisions incorporated in policies.


Every motor vehicle liability policy shall be subject to the following provisions, which need not be contained therein:

(a) The liability of the insurance carrier with respect to the insurance required by this chapter becomes absolute whenever injury or damage covered by the policy occurs.

(b) The policy may not be canceled or annulled, as to the liability of the insurance carrier regarding insurance required by this chapter, by any agreement between the insurance carrier and the insured, or on the insured’s behalf.

(c) No violation of a policy may defeat or void the policy.

(d) The satisfaction, by the insured, of a judgment for injury or damage, may not be a condition precedent to the right or duty of the insurance carrier to make payment on account of such injury or damage.

(e) The insurance carrier has the right to settle any claim covered by the policy, and if such settlement is made in good faith, the amount thereof is deductible from the limits of liability specified in paragraphs (2) and (3) of 22.2003.

(f) The policy, the written application there-for, if any, and any rider or endorsement which does not conflict with the provisions of this chapter, constitute the entire contract between the parties.

22.2008 Coverage additional to that required.


Any policy which grants the coverage required by this chapter may also grant additional coverage, which is not subject to the provisions of this chapter. With respect to a policy which grants additional coverage, the term “motor vehicle liability policy” applies only to that part of the coverage which is required by this chapter.

22.2009 Reimbursement provision permitted.


A motor vehicle liability policy may provide that the insured shall reimburse the insurance carrier for any payment the insurance carrier would not have been obligated to make under the terms of the policy except for the provisions of this chapter.

22.2010 Proration permitted.


A motor vehicle liability policy may provide for the prorating of the insurance thereunder with other valid and collectible insurance.

22.2011 Fulfillment of requirements by multiple policies.


The requirements for a motor vehicle liability policy may be fulfilled by the combined policies of one or more insurance carriers.

22.2012 Binders.


Any binder issued pending the issuance of a motor vehicle liability policy shall be deemed to fulfill the requirements for such a policy.

22.2013 Canceled policies.


(a) The Director of Administrative Services shall be notified by the insurance carrier of the cancellation of any motor vehicle liability policy of insurance at least 10 days before the effective date of such cancellation.

(b) In the absence of such notice of cancellation, the policy of insurance shall remain in full force and effect, except that any policy subsequently procured and certified shall on the effective date of its certification terminate the insurance previously certified with respect to any vehicle designated in both certificates.

(c) Upon receipt of the notice of cancellation, the license and all of the registration certificates of the person whose insurance has been canceled shall be suspended by the Director of Administrative Services and shall remain so suspended until that person files a certificate of insurance.

22.2014 Transfer or registration to defeat purpose of chapter.


(a) If an owner’s registration has been suspended, such registration shall not be transferred, nor the vehicle in respect to which the registration was issued registered in any other name, until the Director of Administrative Services is satisfied that such transfer of the owner’s registration, or registration of the vehicle in another name, is proposed in good faith and not for the purpose, and with the effect, of defeating the purposes of this chapter.

(b) Nothing in this section may in any way affect the rights of any conditional vendor, chattel mortgage, or lessor of a vehicle registered in the name of another as owner who becomes subject to the provisions of this chapter.

(c) The Director of Administrative Services shall suspend the registration of any vehicle transferred in violation of the provisions of this section.

22.2015 Surrender of license and registration upon suspension of either or termina-tion of insurance.


Any person whose vehicle license or registration has been suspended under any provision of this chapter. or whose policy of insurance or bond has been canceled or terminated, shall immediately return his license and registration to the Director of Administrative Services. If any person fails to return to the Director of Administrative Services the license or registration as provided herein, the Director of Administrative Services shall forthwith direct any police officer to secure possession thereof and to return the same to the director of administrative services.

22.2016 Bond in lieu of insurance.


(a) In lieu of filing with the Director of Administrative Services a certificate of insurance, an owner of a vehicle may file a bond of a surety company duly authorized to transact business in American Samoa, which shall provide for payment of the amounts specified in paragraphs (2) and (3) of 22.2003.

(b) The bond shall not be cancelable except after 10 days written notice to the Director of Administrative Services.

22.2017 Exceptions.


This chapter shall not apply with respect to any motor vehicle owned or leased by or under the direction of, the government of the United States or the Government of American Samoa.

22.2018 Right of direct action.


Notwithstanding any provision in a policy to the contrary, an injured person or his heirs or representatives has a right of direct action against the insurer within the terms and limits of the policy, whether or not the policy of insurance sued upon was written or delivered in American Samoa, and whether or not such policy contains a provision forbidding such direct action, provided that the cause of action arose in American Samoa. Such action may be brought against the insurer alone, or against both the insured and insurer.

22.2019 Violation-Penalty.


Any person who violates any provision of this chapter is guilty of a class B misdemeanor and upon conviction, shall be sentenced accordingly.