Otedola Bridge Explosion: Insurers Count Losses


By Ebere Nwoji

Insurers have quantified the amount of losses from the recent petrol tanker explosion which occurred on Otedola Bridge, along Lagos-Ibadan expressway, saying economic, human and insurance losses were incurred.

The insurers have also expressed concern that the rising spate of deaths and other forms of killings in the country, if  allowed to continue, was capable of eroding the premium of insurance underwriters due to high claims ratio.

Speaking on the recent explosion, the Chairman, Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA), Mr Tope Smart, who is also the Managing Director, NEM Insurance Plc, described the Lagos-Ibadan expressway explosion as a tragedy, saying the accident would have serious implication on the  insurance industry in terms of compensation payable to the families of those who lost their lives as a result of the calamity.

He said the compensation was of two folds because those who lost their lives would be compensated if they have policy cover. Also, the burnt vehicles would also be paid for while those who suffered various forms of accident because of the incident will have to be compensated.

“This tragedy has serious implications to the insurance industry in terms of compensation payable in respect of those who lost their lives as a result of the calamity”, he said.

 Also speaking on the loss from the explosion, the Executive Director, Operations Scib Insurance Brokers, Mr Solanke  Ogunlana,  said there are economic, human and insurance loss angles to the unfortunate incident.

According to him, the 12 persons who lost their lives in the incident are entitled to group life insurance claims which is three times their total annul emolument.

He also said the insurance company would be required to replace the 53 burnt vehicles for the owners under third party liability cover which every vehicle plying Nigeria roads must comply with.

Ogunlana, however, said for these costs to be borne by any insurance firm, the petrol tanker that caused the accident must have been genuinely insured.

The insurers’ complaints about frequent claims coming from motor insurance especially frequent cases of petrol tanker explosion was not out of place as barely 24 hours after the Lagos-Ibadan express way explosion, another case of petrol tanker explosion occurred along Suleja road in Niger State.

The suleja road  explosion which occurred at Mallam Karo, along Minna-Suleja road involved a collision between truck and a fuel tanker. According to road safety officials, the situation was partially saved by fire service men who arrived the scene.

Five persons were said to have been injured by the fire but no live was lost.

Barely six months ago, petrol tanker explosion occurred at the Festac Bridge in Amuwo Odofin area of Lagos destroying 20 vehicles and four motor cycles as well as wares and shops located around the area.

Though no life was reported to have been lost, losses emanating from this ran into several millions of naira.

Insurers are currently worried because in each of these cases, they are always at  the receiving end.

In the latest edition of insurance  industry digest released by NIA, claims from motor insurance topped the list of claims paid by the industry whereas rates on motor insurance remains static a situation which has become worrisome to the insurers.