Chiamaka Ajeamo, [email protected]
Following the mass looting and destruction of many government offices, banks, shopping malls, media houses, toll plazas, and private offices by suspected hoodlums during the #EndSARS protests across Nigeria, the insurance industry has indeed incurred huge claims.
In fact, industry analysts are of the view that the claims arising from these massive destructions of both private and public properties will certainly and immediately shake the balance sheets of underwriters this year.
These experts have also expressed concerns on the ability of the sector to meet up with payment of claims which is expected to run into hundreds ofbillions. They opined that the claims may overwhelm operators if the government fails to extend any form of assistance especially, now that the sector is in the middle of a recapitalisation exercise.
Though the value of properties looted and vandalised has not been disclosed by the industry, financial analysts who spoke on various media platforms stated that insurers should be prepared to pay claims in billions to policyholders especially those who have the Riots, Strikes and Civil Commotion (RSCC) in their policies.
According to the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), insurance companies paid a total non-life insurance claims of N64 billion in 2018 compared to N56.4 billion in 2017. Out of this total, claims on fire insurance were about N9.1 billion while Motor Vehicle was N17.3 billion.
Deducing from this massive vandalism of properties across the country, it is obvious that the sector will indeed be paying out huge claims.
Notwithstanding, insurers under the umbrella body of the Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA) have assured policyholders of claims settlement arising from the #EndSARS riots.
The Chairman of NIA, Ganiyu Musa, who said this in an interview stated that Loss Adjusters are currently on sites of the affected companies and business evaluating the extent of damages done.
He also noted that assessment of claims is currently ongoing across the various insurance companies as some of them have started getting notification of claims from policyholders.
Musa, however, noted that claims from these damages will have an immediate negative impact in companies’ liquidity, balance sheet and cash flow but essentially, insurance was built for times as these and this is why people take up policies.
He assured that all policyholders both individuals and businesses with valid insurance policies that have been paid for, will be duly compensated as all members of the NIA will indemnify and provide them the necessary payout in line with the terms of their policies.
He said, “policyholders with valid claims have nothing to fear. This is why you took insurance, for times as these. If you are in doubt on how to start processing your claims, you can get in touch with your insurance company or brokers. They will put you through the claims process.
“For those that have not taken or do not have any form of insurance policy, this is the best time to do so because this is the essence of insurance. Times like these reveal the importance of having insurance policies,” Musa said.
On its part, AIICO Insurance Plc has stated its readiness to meet its obligations to customers who have covers for incidents that occurred from the riots.
In a chat with Daily Sun, the Managing Director/CEO, Babatunde Fajemirokun, said the losses incurred from the riots in terms of human lives and assets are enormous and have had tremendous effect on individuals and businesses, both small and large.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have been affected in one way or another. I assure you that as a company, we are doing all that is necessary to see our customers through this phase. We are asking our customers with covered cases to contact us for immediate assistance with claims.”
He added, “the year 2020 and all we have experienced as a nation are tailwinds, propelling us forward and helping us to evolve. Indeed, the injection of new imagination, energy and innovative thinking into our national discourse will take us there.
“The company’s claims profile over the years provides insights into its unwavering commitment to claims settlement and benefits payment. In 2019, over N30 billion was paid out to its customers. This followed N29.1 billion paid in 2018 and N23.3 billion in 2017,” Fajemirokun said.
Also, Consolidated Hallmark Insurance (CHI) Plc, announced that it is set to settle claims of policyholders whose policies cover Strike, Riot and Civil Commotion extension.
The company stated this in a mail sent to all its policyholders and stakeholders across the country, noting that such claims, like all others, would be promptly handled to ensure that customers are back in business as quickly as possible.
While calling on the victims of the #EndSARS protests to file their claims through the company’s website and customer care centre, the firm assured the aggrieved policyholders that they would be attended to passionately.
Similarly, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Universal Insurance Plc, Ben Ujoatuonu, said insurance companies would pay for every cover that extends to riot and commotion, but will not pay for covers that exclude riots and commotion.
He said: “it depends on the cover the company or individual has bought. If the policy excludes riot and civil commotion, then the insured will not receive any indemnity from his insurance company.”
He, however, stated that some policies might have been extended to cover riot and civil commotion, in such situation liability will attach.
He noted that for most of the companies that got their insurance policies through brokers, there is every likelihood that they would have bought such extension.