By Patience Saghana
Following the increasing awareness on fire hazards and its associated destructions, insurance companies have raked in a total of N73.47 billion premium income from fire policies in ten years.

A breakdown of the premium income raked from fire insurance from 1999 to 2008 showed that underwriters generated N2.76billion in 1999; N3.45billion in 2000; N3.69billion in 2001; NN4.75billion in 2002; N6.08billion in 2003; N7. 34 billion in 2004; N9.58 billion in 2005; N9.82 billion in 2006; N10.38 billion in 2007 and N15.62 billion in 2008.

Fire policy indemnifies the insured against any physical damage or destruction to the property insured by fire and or any of the insured special perils.

Properties covered under fire are: building, fences and gate houses; plant and machinery such as generators and factory machines; stock or raw materials, work in progress, finished goods, household goods, personal effects and rents

Available data showed that insurance companies in 2008 paid N53.3 billion claims to policyholders across the country out of which seven underwriters paid N6.8billion for fire accident claims to Nigerian Bottling Company.

Mr Wole Oshin, Chairman of the association disclosed this to journalists at the Annual General Meeting of the body in Lagos, adding that the said figures represent an estimate of the industry’s key performance indices.

“It is estimated that the volume of business written by insurance companies grew from N100.6 billion in 2007 to about N164.5 billion in 2008, the Council chairman stated.

On the strength of the claims paid that year by insurers, Oshin declared that the result “attests to the ability of insurance companies to pay all genuine claims promptly and expeditiously.”

The report showed that the nature of losses on which the insurance claims were paid include fire peril, withdrawal benefits, welfare scheme, engineering, life, consequential loss, theft, death, oil energy, contractors all risk, marine, fire, aviation, accident, armed robbery, cash_in_transit, injury, fraud, public liability, combine policy, staff retirement scheme, miscellaneous (bond) and money insurance.
The nature of loss covered in the list include damage to equipment, theft of money, accident damage/own damage, misappropriation, motor, engineering damage to pipes, combined industrial/all risk, fidelity guarantee, burglary, ear, marine damage, group life, engineering damage to machinery, collapsed of boiler, personal accident, cash_in_premises, particular average (short delivery), damage to existing property, workmen compensation, etc.

Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, has declared the total figures paid as claims compensation in 2009   to be N529, 195,925.36. The breakdown showed that N293, 986,948.38 was paid as claims on motor insurance, N158, 566,731.04 on general accident while N20,642,667.50 went into claims settlement on marine and aviation insurance policies. Fire and special perils claims amounted to N83, 675,144.02, construction all risks, (CAR) and engineering claims came to N19, 141,460.22 and N16, 182,197.20 was paid on energy claims.

Mr. Wale Onaolapo, Managing Director of Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, stated “Claims settlement is the key and it is our number one priority in STI because that is the reason why we are in business”. While stating further, Onaolapo said “We will always ensure that customers go away with pleasant experiences when it comes to claims settlement, we do not allow our customers to go through harrowing experiences before their claims are settled, promptness and professionalism are our watchwords when it comes to settling claims”.

He said: “It is pertinent to state that the capacity of any insurance company to settle claims does not depend solely on the amount of the company’s share capital, the reserves and the reinsurance covers determine an insurance company’s capacity.

IGI in five years paid claims amounting to N16.4billion. This is broken down into N595.6million paid on Motor claims, N269.6million on Accident claims, N161.9million on fire claims, N38.9million on Marine claims, N463.5million on Life claims, N22.9million on Engineering claims and N14.8billion on Pension claims. During this period, the company also made claims payment of $2.3million, mostly coming

Goldlink Insurance paid over N1.2billion in 2009 as claims to relieve their customers from one loss or another. The statement revealed that over N700million claims was settled on General Insurance while claims paid on Life policies amounted to N500million.

Under the General Insurance: Motor Insurance gulped almost N360million; N68million was paid on fire Insurance, while General Accident and Marine Insurance had N216million and N67million respectively.

The beneficiaries of these claims are various government institutions and departments, individuals and other corporate establishments.

Mr. Fola Daniel, Commissioner for Insurance had always encouraged insurance clients with genuine un_settled claims to report their cases to the commission.

Daniel said that the level of complaint on unsettled claims has reduced significantly, which shows that the operators are living up to their promises.

He called on the public to take their cases to NAICOM, which would ensure that their genuine unsettled claims are paid without delay.


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