Nigerian businessman lashes out at Zenith insurance company for refusing to pay him compensation since 2018
A Nigerian businessman based abroad lamented the refusal of Zenith General Insurance management to pay him compensation, despite several years of paying premiums to the company to secure his business.
The businessman, Paul Okolo, told SaharaReporters that he set up his company, Triburniser Limited, an exploration and mining company in Benue State and that a relationship (which worked with Zenith Bank) had advised him to take the assurances provided by Zenith General. Assurance.
According to him, he has insured major equipment, including a generator set, a brand new Cummins 17.5 KVA generator set purchased from Cummins Nigeria Limited in late 2016 at a cost of 4.8 million naira.
The generator set was insured with a full package provided by Zenith General Insurance at the rate of N5 million and a monthly premium payment was made for the insurance, Okolo added.
However, two years later the generator set was stolen and a major suspect was arrested by the police but following internal changes at the police station the suspect was released.
Okolo said he further sought compensation from Zenith General Insurance for the loss, but this was turned down because the company claimed the generator theft was organized, especially due to the involvement of a former Triburniser employee.
He said: “I paid all the premiums, in 2018 this terrorism problem started and my brand new generator which I bought at N 4.8million and insured at N5million with Zenith General Insurance. , it happened that the generator was stolen in August 2018. We reported the incident to the police station and by that time we had closed the site, there were only security guards on the site , because of the terrorism that was taking place in the region.
“It was only the security personnel who stayed there, I had asked the other employees to go home. So I went to the police station and the police arrested the security personnel, took their statement, during the interrogation the security man said that one of my former employees had planned the robbery, so the police decided they were going to arrest the old staff.
“The police said they needed money to apprehend him, I paid. In September, I filed a claim with the insurance company; because it wasn’t just the generator that was stolen, a flatscreen TV, three computers and so much more that was stolen. I filed a claim with Zenith General Insurance and they sent an investigator to investigate and the investigator contacted me; I directed him to my operation people on the site. I told them to give him whatever help he needed.
“After doing his job he went back to Zenith General Insurance and got a letter from them saying they would not cover the generator theft claim, I asked why? They said they thought the generator hadn’t really been stolen, that they thought it was just an internal problem that one of my employees said they didn’t get a paycheck, I asked them what kind of nonsense this was? They said the generator hadn’t really been stolen because the prime suspect hadn’t been arrested yet and I told them that I had given the police all the information they needed to apprehend the suspect. How they do their job, is that none of my business?
“This area is a remote area, nothing can work there without electricity, there is no electricity, no road, nothing. Zenith General Insurance and I have started going back and forth until now, it’s 2021, this business is almost dead, since 2018 you can’t power this place. The generator now; the brand new one costs 10million naira, I bought it for 4.8million naira that time. But because we couldn’t replace the generator, that business almost collapsed.
“The main suspect they told me was not yet arrested, was finally arrested by the police in 2020; he was part of that terrorist group, the Gana group. He was arrested in connection with operations.
“I sent the press article to Zenith General Insurance regarding the arrest but received no response. Society basically blocked me; they refused to pay my claims, I wrote a letter of complaint to the insurance regulator in Nigeria, NAICOM, I haven’t heard from them, it’s been over 2 months. I invested a lot of money with my partners in this business, so when we found out we had no insurance coverage, we had to move. Based on this incident, we found out that Zenith was not covering anything.
“I saw later that they started ignoring my emails and messages and the like and even though they don’t ignore them, they don’t answer me. The company just killed my business. I will sue them as soon as possible. “
Okolo, in a letter to the Commissioner of the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), said: “I hereby submit this complaint about Zenith General Insurance, a subsidiary of Zenith Bank PLC, regarding the theft of my brand new generator set. Cummins 17.5 KVA purchased from Cummins Nigeria Limited in late 2016 for four million eight hundred thousand (4.8 million naira).
“The generator was insured with a full package provided by Zenith General Insurance for five million naira (5 million naira) and the monthly premium payment was made for the insurance (attached proof of payments and other vouchers).
“The generator was stolen from my mine site in Benue State on August 27, 2018. Police were immediately notified of the incident and arrested the on-site security officer on the day of the incident.
“According to the police, the investigation is ongoing and the case was ultimately dismissed due to internal changes at the police station in the very remote area of Ayelamo, in the Logo local government area of the State of Benue.
“My company filed an insurance claim with Zenith General Insurance, which was subsequently rejected on the grounds that the theft of the generator was a staging and therefore an internal incident which was orchestrated by Mr. Simon Reuben Igundanase , a former staff member of my company to defraud the insurance company according to independent investigations by Benefit Loss Adjusters. I have protested for several years against this conclusion as being an absolutely wrong conclusion.
In the meantime, in its reaction to SaharaReporters, Zenith General Insurance sent a letter dated October 3, 2019, in which it explained that the circumstances surrounding the theft were indeed a violation of the agreement.
The letter reads: “We are writing to acknowledge your recent email and follow-up phone calls to our Miss Precious Ezekiel on September 9, 2019 regarding the captioned incident.
“We would like to reiterate that we have engaged the services of MM. Benefit Loss Adjusters to objectively investigate the circumstances surrounding the theft of your generator set on August 27, 2018 and that they subsequently conducted a detailed investigation into the matter, it was the result of their investigations which were in accordance with the terms and terms of the policy that have been communicated to you.
“Without a doubt, the investigations confirmed that your generator set was indeed blown away. Nonetheless, the circumstance which led to his theft and how it was done and by whom is important in any insurance claim. This is important and there are specific provisions contained in your Plant All Risk policy that invalidate your claim.
“The following are undeniable facts of this claim to date: 1. First, the burden of proof of the loss lies with you, the insured. Interestingly, to prove your claim you submitted two different versions of the police report and we don’t know what the reason is, or which one can be trusted since they are from the same police station,
“Concretely, a police extract signed by a certain Supol Utim lor Celestine on September 17, 2018 indicted Orban Gwa and Simon Igyundunase (see appendix 1). Was perpetrated by unknown persons who were authorized by your former employee Simon Igyundunase (Annex 2) The two reports are consistent on the fact that known non-foreign persons are directly indirectly responsible for the theft.
“Second, your email dated October 2, 2018 confirmed that you employed or were aware of the employment of a security guard on behalf of Orban Gwa who was securing your premises and that he was identified as the prime suspect in the theft of your generator set.
“Your email also established that a certain Mr. Simon Igyundunase was your staff before he was recently dismissed. Also, you said that the police are already tracking the dismissed employee and that his apprehension is imminent. (see appendix 3).
“We would like to reiterate that we value our customers and would not hesitate to pay a true claim when our liability is established in accordance with the terms and conditions of the policy. However, the cause of the loss in this case is not covered by this policy. We recommend that you hold your former employee and security guard responsible for the theft of your generator set.
The letter was signed at the time by Olusegun Oderinde and Chris Owuamanam from the Complaints / Legal and Compliance department.