Protecting Us Through Insurance of Public Buildings


Monday, August 03, 2020 / 11:48 AM  /By Ekerete Ola Gam-Ikon / Header Image Credit: BT Com


Public buildings are what we know them to be - places that are open for public use. However, many of us are unaware of the law that requires the owners of public places like office blocks, hotels, schools, hospitals, markets and tourist centres, to take up insurances that will compensate us in the event of any injuries or deaths that occur to us while there.


As COVID-19 keeps ravaging and we are making conscious efforts to reopen the rest of the economy, with our children in exit classes returning to school this week, it is the right time to consider adding the insurance of schools and other public buildings to the checklist and guidelines.


Having noted that abiding by the guidelines of health authorities during this season remains challenging for many of us, it would seem appropriate to prepare for those moments of unexpected and unfortunate events, with insurance.


To be certain, the law on insurance of public buildings stipulates that members of the public within such premises should be compensated if they suffer injuries or even die and the cause is traceable to any defect in the building.


So, while the law may not fully apply to health cases like the current pandemic, it would help to use this opportunity to consider the insurances of those public places, specifically schools, as additional safeguards.


Protecting our Children

The concerns for the protection of our children in exit classes as they return to school amidst the coronavirus pandemic have become heightened as the resumption date finally comes. We cannot simply relax despite the assurances we have been given by the schools and governments at different levels until we have our children safely back at home, impressive as the planned arrangements have been.


In 2018, the Federal Government through the Education Minister had announced insurance packages for students of the 104 Unity Schools and their assets. This was to ensure that the students would continue their education if they lost their parents or guardians. It was safe to assume that the teachers were accordingly insured, and even safer today, to believe that the insurance policies are still in force.


In like manner, the schools reopening should, at this critical time, have insurance of the type that will protect the children, teachers and others within their premises. The anxieties from some unwanted phone calls about the health of our children or wards at this time can be best contained, knowing that there are insurance policies in place to address any emergencies.


Or should parents and guardians be broadly advised to take up health insurance for their children and wards?


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The Value of the Insurance Law

While most of us often receive information about the insurance of our lives and assets as solicitation for business by insurance companies, we forget, and need to be reminded, that it is intended to protect us from the misdemeanors of others.


Do you know that the plazas, malls and complexes you walk into either to sell or buy may be exposed to risks of fire, collapse, flood or even attack while you are there?


Do you know that the insurance policies the law requires the owners to have are meant to protect you in the event of such occurrences?


If some of our public buildings are without functional fire extinguishers or for hydrants, should we expect prompt remedial actions when the unexpected happens?


In other advanced countries where we have seen and heard news of these incidents, recoveries and return to normalcy have been easier because compensations from insurers were prompt and adequate, in line with the contracts.


When value is delivered by insurers, the relief to the victims are immeasurable as they are saved from drifting into financial mess. The converse is the case for those that wait without knowing when compensation will be paid by insurers.


Taking Personal Responsibility

The issue of the risks we face at the several public buildings we enter for whatever reasons should not be left for the law enforcement authorities and owners of those places; we should indeed take responsibility to ASK for the status of their insurances.


As you may have discovered, if you are a shop owner or trader at any public place, the payment of rent only gives you access to the space, so if any of the risks earlier mentioned crystallizes, you are exposed to bankruptcy on account of inability to enjoy compensation where there was no insurance policy in force.


Individuals and business owners that decided to take responsibility and insisted on seeing the evidence of insurance for those places were at peace and not agonized when the unexpected occurred.


We can help ourselves pending when the law becomes fully enforced as same is equally intended to give us value.


Think about it, if the places we enter whether to sell or buy, including the schools, are fully insured, we will be better positioned to address the impact of the current health concerns and risks 


The good in the guidelines of government should be strengthened by the calls we make for more secured living through appropriate insurances.


About The Author

Ekerete Olawoye Gam-Ikon, MNIM, CPP, is a management consultant with a specialization in Strategy and Insurance. You can contact him via e:mail and mobile +234-806-648-1111

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