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Insurance claims in Nigeria - Know your rights and how to navigate the process 

November 30, 2023
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Have you met Emeka? The diligent cloth seller with several shops based in Lagos Island, who invested in a comprehensive insurance policy to protect his business against unforeseen circumstances. Before I go on, what you will observe in Emeka’s story is a testament to the importance of understanding your rights and the intricacies of the claims process in Nigeria. 

A fire broke out in Emeka’s warehouse on a Monday morning, the beginning of a new week, threatening to consume his years of hard work. Amidst the chaos and attempts by him and his apprentices to salvage what fire had not burned, he remembered the protection of his insurance policy and his rights as a policyholder. The first step on his recovery journey was reaching out to his insurer, Coronation Insurance, known for its commitment to prompt and fair settlements. 

As Emeka dialled the claims hotline, a comforting voice on the other end guided him through the initial steps. He received advice to provide detailed documentation, including incident reports, photographs, and any relevant evidence. Emeka, though shaken by the unfortunate incident, diligently collected and submitted all required materials. 

Coronation Insurance, true to its reputation, promptly initiated the claims assessment process. The company’s approach goes beyond mere financial compensation; it encompasses a genuine understanding of the emotional toll such events can take. Recognising Emeka’s current state, Coronation Insurance streamlined the claims process to be not just simple but also empathetic, ensuring that he can focus on recovery while the company handles the intricacies with diligence and care.

So, their team of seasoned assessors meticulously examined the extent of the damage, ensuring a comprehensive understanding of the loss Emeka had incurred. Emeka, feeling supported and assured, awaited the next steps. 

A few days later, the settlement offer arrived. Coronation Insurance, recognising Emeka’s commitment to accurate reporting and his contributions to the local business landscape, provided a fair and transparent offer. Emeka, grateful for the swift response and fairness, accepted the settlement. 

Emeka had bought the Fire and Special Peril Insurance, one of Coronation Insurance’s products.  

Read also: How insurance can help you through life stages and plan better 

What is the Fire and Special Peril Insurance?  

This policy aims to protect against loss or material damage to property caused by fire and certain associated risks.

Features of Fire and Special Peril Insurance 

The policy covers loss or damage to properties as a result of fire, lighting, limited explosion and other special perils listed below: 

Fire insurance
  • Fire including lighting and limited explosion 
  • Explosion (Industrial) 
  • Aircraft 
  • Riots, strikes, lock-out 
  • Malicious damage 
  • Earthquake or violence eruption 
  • Storm, tempest & flood 
  • Bush fire 
  • Escape of water from any tank, apparatus or burst pipes 
  • Impact by any road vehicle or animal 
What are the benefits of this insurance policy?  
  • Provides for cost of temporary accommodation 
  • Reimburses cost of rebuilding the damaged building 
  • Indemnifies against malicious damage of your property (except during theft) 
  • Covers cost of removing debris 
  • Covers losses not resulting from fire e.g. burst pipes, floods etc. 
  • The policy also provides cover of up to 10% of the sum insured for contents temporarily removed from premises for repairs. 

Unfortunately, the businessman had also injured himself in the mayhem. But he had Personal Accident Insurance as an extension to his Fire and Special Peril Insurance.  

The Personal Accident Insurance cover aims to offer financial assistance in case of a severe fatal accident, injury, or disability.

Benefits of Personal Accident Insurance 
  • Covers death, permanent, partial or total disability 
  • Covers the cost of hospitalisation  
Features of Personal Accident Insurance 
  • Cover is available to persons aged 18-65 
  • Cover can be extended to cover spouse and dependent children 
  • No benefit is paid if the insured survives the term 
  • Renewals cover spouse and dependent children younger than 21 years of age.  

Emeka has begun to find his feet again and is ready to buy even more insurance policies, understanding the speed with which he was attended to, and the valuable offer Coronation Insurance had given him.  

Emeka’s tale is a minority of the experiences Nigerians face navigating the insurance claims process. Understanding your rights as a policyholder is fundamental, and the story of Emeka underscores the importance of swift and fair settlements during challenging times. 

Insurance claims play a vital role in providing financial protection to individuals and businesses in Nigeria. However, understanding your rights and the process of navigating insurance claims can be complex and overwhelming. This article aims to shed light on insurance claims in Nigeria, empowering you with the knowledge to ensure a smooth and successful claims experience. 

Understanding insurance claims 

Insurance claims are requests made by policyholders, like Emeka, to their insurance companies for funds to rebuild and re-equip their stores, in the event of a fire outbreak.

These claims can arise from various types of insurance policies, including fire insurance, health insurance, car insurance, property insurance, and more. It is essential to have a clear understanding of your insurance policy and its coverage to know when and how to file a claim. 

Insurance claims serve as a lifeline for individuals like Emeka, the policyholder in our story. When his store faced the unfortunate incident of a fire, resulting in significant damage, Emeka turned to his insurance policy. In simple terms, this means he sought funds to rebuild and re-equip his store, easing the burden of the loss he incurred. Whether it’s fire insurance, health insurance, or any other type, understanding your policy and its coverage is akin to having a safety net in times of unforeseen challenges. It ensures that when the unexpected happens, individuals like Emeka can navigate the claims process with confidence, knowing they have the support they need to recover.

Know your rights as Emeka

As a policyholder in Nigeria, you have certain rights when it comes to insurance claims. It is crucial to be aware of these rights to protect yourself and ensure fair treatment throughout the claims process. Some key rights include: 

1. Right to information: Insurance companies are required to provide you with accurate and complete information about your policy, including coverage, exclusions, and claim procedures. You have the right to request and receive this information in a clear and understandable manner. 

2. Right to prompt and fair settlement: When you file a valid claim, the insurance company is obligated to investigate and settle the claim promptly and fairly. They should not unreasonably delay or deny your claim without sufficient justification. 

Coronation Insurance

3. Right to appeal: If your claim is denied, you have the right to appeal the decision. Insurance companies must provide you with a clear explanation for the denial and a process for appealing the decision. 

4. Right to privacy: Insurance companies must respect your privacy and confidentiality throughout the claims process. They should not disclose your personal information without your consent, except as required by law. 

Navigating the insurance claims process 

Filing an insurance claim in Nigeria involves several steps. Understanding the process can help you navigate it effectively and increase the chances of a successful outcome. Here are the general steps involved in filing an insurance claim: 

1. Notify the insurance company:

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible after the loss or damage occurs. Provide them with all the necessary details, including the date, time, and location of the incident, and any relevant supporting documentation. 

2. Document the loss:

Take photographs or videos of the damage or loss, if applicable. Keep all receipts, bills, or other evidence related to the incident. This documentation will help support your claim and provide evidence of the extent of the loss. 

3. Complete the claim form:

The insurance company will provide you with a claim form. Fill it out accurately and completely, providing all the required information. Make sure to include any supporting documentation you have gathered. 

4. Cooperate with the investigation:

The insurance company may investigate to assess the validity of your claim. Cooperate fully with their requests for information, documentation, or interviews. Failure to cooperate may result in delays or denial of your claim. 

5. Review the settlement offer:

Once the insurance company completes its investigation, it will make a settlement offer. Carefully review the offer and compare it to your policy coverage. If you believe the offer is inadequate, you have the right to negotiate for a fair settlement. 

6. Appeal if necessary:

If your claim is denied or you are dissatisfied with the settlement offer, follow the insurance company’s appeal process. Provide any additional information or evidence that supports your claim and explains why you believe the decision should be reconsidered. 

Insurance claims in Nigeria may appear complex, but knowing your rights and understanding the claims process can help you navigate it successfully. Remember to familiarise yourself with your insurance policy, document any losses or damages, and cooperate fully with the insurance company’s investigation. If necessary, appeal the decision to ensure a fair settlement. By being informed and proactive, you can protect your rights and achieve a positive outcome in your insurance claims process. 

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