By Francis Ewherido
You remember how we used to sing-clap “two fighting….” When pupils are fighting in primary school? It is near impossible to drive around Lagos without beholding an accident scene, where the two drivers are either arguing, shouting at each other or engaged in fisticuffs. It has never made sense to me. As an insurance practitioner. What is the need for fighting, especially now that technology has made life simple? In those days they would bring the police or VIO to inspect the accident scene and make their report. Though it should ordinarily be free, it could cost real money, especially getting the police report. These days, many insurance companies waive the provision of a police report, especially when there are no fatalities.
So if you are involved in an accident, what should you do? When you get out of your vehicle, bring out your phone and make videos or/and take photos of the accident scene. Remember to capture the vehicle registration number while doing this. That done move the vehicle to safe place. There is an app called NIID (Nigeria Insurance Industry Database). It has the details of all vehicles with genuine motor insurance in Nigeria. You can easily download the app on your phone. Any vehicle details that is not on the database does not have insurance. That is an offence. The Motor Vehicles (Third Party) Insurance Act of 1945, which took effect from 1st April 1950, makes it an offence for anybody to use a motor vehicle on the road (road here means any road to which members of the public have access) without having in place the minimum Motor (Third Party) Insurance to cover the motorist against liabilities arising from third party bodily injuries or death. The Insurance Act of 2003 extended the cover to take care of liabilities arising from damage to third party property to the tune of One Million Naira. If the country functioned well, the party at fault should be begging to repair the other party’s vehicle because if the matter gets to the police and the case goes to court. He risks spending two years in jail and or a N250,000 fine. Our justice system “dey bend-bend” right now, but Nigeria is on the move and we shall get to where such offenders will spend time in jail or and pay fine.
Now there are three basic types of motor insurance: One, Motor (Third Party) Insurance; two, Motor (third Party) Fire and Theft; and three, Comprehensive Motor Insurance. The first, Motor (Third Party) Insurance is compulsory. It has the least coverage and protects the policyholder against liability to third parties (other road users) for damage to third party properties to the tune of N1m, injuries to third parties and death of third parties. The compensation for injuries and death of third parties is unlimited because you cannot place value on life, limbs, etc, but there are parameters for working out the benefits. For instance the beneficiaries of someone earning N1m per annum before death cannot get the same compensation of someone earning N10m per annum before death. All the benefits are for third parties, not the policyholder. The whole idea is that since many policyholders cannot bear these liabilities and may leave other road users who suffer damage to their properties (including vehicles and buildings) this policy ensures that they get at least N1m. If the damage is more than N1m, the policyholder has to pay the additional sum from his pocket. If the other road users get injured or dies the insurance company will be liable to pay compensation.
The second type of motor insurance, TPFT. In addition to covering damage to your vehicle by fire and theft of your vehicle, it includes all that is covered by the first motor insurance above. Please note that theft here does not include theft by your driver or family member. There is another policy called Fidelity Guarantee, which covers theft of your vehicle by your driver or family member, but we cannot go into details because it is outside our scope today.
Third motor policy: A typical Comprehensive Motor Insurance Policy covers the loss or damage to insured vehicles as a result of fire, theft, vandalism, accidental damage or collision. Some cover flood damage automatically, while some treat it as an extension. In that case the policyholders might have to request for the flood damage extension, at extra or no extra premium, before it is added. You can also get SRCC (strike riot and civil commotion) damage on payment of additional sum (premium). When we talk of SRCC extension for your comprehensive policy, the SARS riot reminds vehicle owners of the importance of SRCC extension. Those whose cars were damaged and did not have the SRCC extension were left high and dry, but those who had it were compensated by their insurance companies. SRCC extension used to be given freely by insurance companies, but insurance companies started charging for the extension due to the heavy losses and claims paid in the aftermath of the riot.
By now, you must be wondering like me why people argue, shout, fight and even kill because of a road accident. The fights are as a result of ignorance.
On a final note, where do you purchase your insurance? Some readers might already be bored of the technicalities so far in the article, so let us round. I always advise people to go through a registered insurance broker while trying to purchase insurance. There is nothing wrong in going to an insurance company directly, but the main job of insurance companies is to carry your risks, while brokers act as advisers. Your risk be still carried by an insurance company if you go through an insurance broker, but the broker acts as your intermediary at no extra cost to you. In addition, he will act as your representative throughout the duration of the policy. The broker might even get you a lower premium because of his knowledge of the insurance market, he will offer free advisory services, as I am doing now. If there is a genuine claim, he will help you process it and get it paid. You will be in the comfort of your house and get an alert for the payment of your claim. All these at no extra cost to you. You can get the list of Registered Insurance Brokers in Nigeria at https://ncrib.net. If you need additional information, call 08132433631 or send an email to email@example.com. Consultation is free.