Most tankers have no valid insurance cover – Operators

Matthew Otoijagha

Most tankers plying Nigerian roads have no insurance cover to provide compensation for victims when they cause fatal accidents, investigation has revealed.

Some insurance operators, during interview, expressed worry that when accidents of huge magnitude are caused by such big vehicles, which claim lives and property; these cases are not usually reported to the underwriting firms.

While many incidents of tanker explosion among others have continued unabated in the country, the recent fatal one, which occurred at Otedola Bridge in Lagos last week Thursday, claimed nine lives, left scores injured and destroyed 54 cars. Presently, underwriters in the industry are yet to ascertain the owner of the tanker, to know if it has a genuine insurance policy or not.

While still awaiting reports on the tanker, they have said that the victims of the fatal accident will be compensated if they had genuine insurance covers before the accident happened.

The Director-General, Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria, Mr. Richard Borokini, said that a lot of people usually obtain fake insurance certificates from motor licensing offices and other illegal places out of ignorance.

He said, “The issue is that most of those tankers are not insured because they are carrying fake insurance certificates. They may not have insurance with registered insurance companies in Nigeria and this has to do with the problem of fake insurance which is very common in our society. Most of these trucks and vehicles are not insured with any registered insurance company in Nigeria.”

While speaking on the recent accident on Otedola Bridge, he explained that if those whose cars were destroyed had genuine comprehensive insurance, they should substantiate their proof as victims with police reports and will be compensated. “If the victims survived the accident, they should be able to report their losses and be compensated; but if they died, their relatives should be able to report for them,” he said.

The Director-General, Nigerian Insurers Association, Mrs. Yetunde Ilori, who also worried that most tankers move on Nigerian roads without genuine insurance, said that it is a criminal offence for anyone to put his vehicle or tanker on the road without an insurance cover.

She said, “People sometimes don’t pursue their right to a logical conclusion. Before they put their vehicles on the road, they are supposed to have insured them. Even if it is just third party that a tanker has, the people whose vehicles have been damaged and those who suffered injuries are entitled to insurance compensation.

“That means what the insurance company will not cover is the tanker itself and its loss. However, its responsibility to third party is covered. That is why government must enforce it and work with our association and confirm that the cover that people are carrying is genuine.”

According to her, a motorist can now use the USSD code which is *565*11# to confirm that an insurance certificate he is carrying is genuine and know when it is going to expire. Ilori also said that motorists with comprehensive insurance should go to their insurance companies for compensation, but those with third party will have to be compensated by the insurance company of the tanker that exploded and caused them damages.

She said, “Comprehensive insurance will cover for the individual cars of those who were there, however if their own insurers settle, their insurers now need to exercise their subrogation right against the company that owns the tanker, because it is the tanker’s liability insurance that should pay for the damages. But for vehicles that are comprehensively insured, they can go to their insurance companies for claim.”

According to her, it is the responsibility of the person whose tanker exploded that takes the responsibility for those with third party insurance.

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