Motor Insurance ranks as one of the most popular of all the various classes of insurance in Nigeria and understandably so. It is an everyday risk and the very nature of an automobile easily brings to mind the risks attached. Besides, in Nigeria, it is a criminal offense to drive an automobile without having at least a Third-Party Motor Insurance cover (read more on Third-Party Motor Insurance cover “here“).
Motor Insurance also has the highest frequency of claims and like other classes of insurance, it comes with its own challenges.
As a loss adjuster, i witness on firsthand basis, the effects of people’s misconception about insurance and many times their deliberate attempt to swindle underwriters into paying a loss that never occurred or deceive them into paying more than is required. I however must also point out that it insurance penetration in Nigeria is very low and despite the level of awareness created by the key players in the industry, many people still do not believe it. It is at the point of claim that underwriters have the opportunity to prove that insurance is for real.
A claimant once insisted that he maintains his car with a particular standard auto garage and would not have his car repaired anywhere else. On my visit to the auto garage i requested for his service history from which it was observed that his claim was not true. Being a difficult client that he is we opted to pay the auto garage directly. It was at this point that he started to sing another song. Apparently, if he had been paid directly, he would have taken the vehicle to where it would be repaired cheaper thereby benefiting from his own loss.
Some areas of challenge with adjusting Motor Insurance claims.
- What constitutes a loss claimable under the Motor Insurance policy: Truth be told, if the policy wordings of a motor insurance policy are to be adhered to strictly, about 50% of motor insurance claims would be thrown out of the window. The fact is, not every damage to your vehicle can be paid for by your motor insurance policy. A claimant once got back to where his car was parked only to discover that someone had drawn a long line on it using a sharp object. He reported a claim and requested that insurance should bear the cost of painting the said car. While it is true that the vehicle had been damaged, such losses are not covered by the motor insurance policy. Another that is like it is when an insured is effecting a complete body works on his vehicle and attempts to transfer the cost to his insurer.
- Challenges with determining the degree of indemnity: The purpose of insurance is to return you (as much as it is practicable) back to the position you were before the loss (not better than). Insurance can only repair that part of your vehicle that was damaged. Anything more is overcompensation. This implies that you cannot request your insurer to bear the cost of painting the whole vehicle because painting only the affected part could result to multi-shade of colours.
- The challenge of unrealistic expectation by the insured: A claimant once requested for a replacement vehicle having damaged his. Such offers of course doesn’t come with a standard motor insurance policy in Nigeria.
- Fraudulent intent on the part of either or both the insured and or the third party auto garage. Often times we have the cost of repairs being inflated unjustly either in value or in replacement parts or both. At other times, the damage claimed for did not occur and at other times, the subject matter of insurance never existed in the first place, yet the insured wants to be compensated for a loss that never occurred.
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