By Ade Fashola
At this moment, Femi was bewildered. He looked and me “how are you so sure that insurance will pay all these money on 5k?” Can I still claim my money? He asked. I talked for a while waiting for Femi to either claim knowledge or ignorance of my discussion but the only thing he said was “Can I still make a claim”? At this point I realized that if I did not treat his demand of his N300k problem, there will be no further engagement. I was already getting used to his endless gist.
I asked him, when did the accident happen? He told me September about One year and 10 months ago. I told him that they are good news and the bad news depend on you. He was excited. He immediately adjusted himself and asked with all seriousness , how can I recover my N300k? He repeated it again and again . I told him there are four important components to enable you file this type of claim. Statute of Limitation, Law enforcement report, Evidences and Witness(s).
Firstly, how long was the incident or accident? This is generally call “Statute of Limitation”. There is no universal deadline for filing a car insurance claim. Most policies do not provide a strict deadline or window of time. Most insurer prefers 30 to 60 days. The policy usually states that you are required to make your claim “promptly” or “within a reasonable time”. In many countries, you have two years to file the claim from the date of the incident. Some have up to three years for statute of limitations for property damage resulting from a car accident from the date of accident. You are few months to the two years limit, so I will ask you to get in touch with your insurance company immediately. Secondly, do you have a police report during the accident? Having a law enforcement to witness or making an immediate report to a law enforcement agency goes a long way to give credence to your claim. A police report could also serve as a witness to the accident especially if the police was present at the scene of the accident. If the police were not there, do you have any law enforcement agent that can corroborate you story. It may be traffic warden or road marshal or fire services officer on the circumstance of the accident. Thirdly, you need evidences. It may be the pictures or passerby or passengers. In this modern day, there are smart phones everywhere. You need to take as many pictures as possible from several angles to show the extent of the damage. Pictures, if taken properly, can tell the whole story for you. If video is possible to be produced, it will help to authenticate the story. Finally, you need witnesses. You should get the names of several people that were available at the scene and are willing and available to be in support or at the least verify that the accident occurred at the said time and the circumstance. Femi sighed. He then asked me “How am I going to remember all these”? I said, let us do it together.
I told Femi to let us start this as an experimental project. He was happy and said with you? I nodded.
I started; do you remember the date of the accident? Do you remember the person you have accident with? Did you take any picture(s)? Do you still remember anyone at the scene of the accident? Did you remember the auto shop that the repair was done? And most importantly, did you involve the police? Femi remembered the date. He remembered the third party involved and the license plate number of the car. He also remembered the person that called in the police ,but he could not remember any witness. I told him to call his insurance company immediately. He did and they gave him a number to call. Like a play, Femi was very excited at least for the ray of hope of recovering his N300k.
Femi called the woman (The third party). Our first breakthrough was that the third party has the pictures of the damages to her car in her phone. She promised to send the pictures to Femi. Femi could not get a witness but I told him to get a statement from the chief engineer of the auto shop that worked on the woman’s car. Within two days, we have started building a case. The good news was that because the woman was anticipating that Femi may run away or deny the accident during the period, she has reported the case to the nearby police station and put Femi’s names she collected at the point of accident down. By the end of the week, Femi was already talking to the loss adjuster. Because I know the Managing Director of the Insurance Company, I decided to work behind the scene and also to give Femi the confidence that insurance works.
Femi was able to get all needed documents to the loss adjuster. Within two weeks, he already had an offer of settlement for the sum of N125k. I told him to reject and state his reasons including the invoices and evidence of the payment to the auto shop. He eventually got a settlement for N233k. Femi gave me few others’ names. We were able to got after few of them. The point I was making was that not all accidents or ill luck are caused by witches. Once you are a living being, you are definitely expose to dangers every day. The government was aware of these dangers and that is why the government allow insurance companies to operate within the confine of the law of federal republic of Nigeria.
While Femi’s third party claim was going on, he visited me a couple of times. We spoke almost every day and I was enjoying free real-life stories. He gave me almost a hundred individual clients. Remember, I was avoiding him during the Muslim Festival. Next week I will relay what happened. Enjoy your week.
Ade Fashola is the CEO of Universal Risk
By Ade Fashola