Indications have emerged that aircraft in the fleet of Associated Airlines may have been flying without insurance cover since the beginning of this year as its alleged insurer, Nigeria Reinsurance Plc (Nigeria-Re), has denied having any insurance contract with the airline.
Associated Airlines also named a second insurer as Sema Insurance, but it has been gathered that the insurance company is not registered by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), neither is registered by the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB) as an insurance broking firm.
Nigeria-Re has denied the existence of any insurance contract with the airline, saying such claims were not only false but made by “people who do not understand the way the insurance industry is organised.”
The Managing Director of Nigeria-Re, Mrs. Isioma Chukwu, told THISDAY that her organisation was never at any time the official insurer of Associated Airlines.
She explained that her organisation, being a reinsurance company, do not transact any business with the insureds or policyholders, adding that reinsurance companies insures risks taken by primary insurance companies and as such could not have had any insurance transaction with the airline.
The revelation came following the crash of one of the airline’s aircraft conveying the corpse of former Governor of Ondo State, Chief Olusegun Agagu, and some of his family members including government officials to Akure on Thursday. 13 persons died in the crash which occurred within the vicinity of the Murtala Mohammed Airport Lagos minutes after take-off. Six survivors still lie critically in the hospital.
If Associated Airline is not able to prove it has insurance cover on its aircraft, the expected insurance claims by surviving victims of the crash and relatives of the deceased victims may be in jeorpady.
The Chief Operating Officer of Associated Airlines, Taiwo Raji, had said the aircraft was insured by Sema Insurance in partnership with Nigeria-Re. At another time, the company was said to have been insured by Africa Reinsurance Corporation (Africa-Re) and Sema Insurance. Inconsistencies in the company’s statement may mean there was actually no insurance cover.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a top insurance broker, said Custodian and Allied Insurance Plc, was the insurer of the airline but had to stop at the beginning of this year because the airline defaulted in the payment of premium for the cover.