Thursday, December 30,
2021 / 12:49 PM / OpEd By Ekerete Ola Gam-Ikon / Header Image Credit: NG State
Our natural instinct is to wait for the official
position when incidents like the fire outbreak at Next Cash n Carry, Abuja
This is one of Nigeria's purpose-built shopping malls
in the Federal Capital Territory, serving millions of Nigerians daily. Besides
shoppers, the chain of employment it bears can only be appreciated after the
damning effect of this incident.
As expected, the official report of the incident by
the FCT Police Command has asserted that the combined efforts of the security
forces salvaged meaningful quantum of the goods with the cooperation of good
Nigerians at the scene of the incident; of course, those who accepted to steal
were promptly arrested.
Commendable as the efforts were yesterday, my
insurance instinct has been raising many questions that similarly come up at
times like this. Some "silly and annoying" questions that will enable
us not only address the incident holistically but also apply the lessons to
better respond to such incidents in future.
These questions include:
- Was Next Cash n Carry COMPREHENSIVELY INSURED? Was
the insurance cover for the building alone? Was the insurance cover for all the
goods or only those that belong to Next Cash n Carry? How about the machinery
and equipment, cash and persons?
- What happened to the Fire Truck usually stationed
in the premises? Did the firemen also go on holidays? Was the truck in a
position to respond effectively to an incident of such magnitude?
- How and where did the fire start? Who noticed it
first? Were there fire alarm systems and fire hydrant to forewarn the people on
duty? Was the fire too much for the fire extinguishers to curb?
- When will the insurer(s) of this multimillion
shopping complex make a statement? Such a business would have an insurance broker
but will we hear anything now? Even if there was insurance and the premium was
not fully paid as at the time of this incident, will it be brought to public
knowledge for learning?
- As a public building, the law requires that there
should be insurance cover in place, what if there was no valid insurance cover?
Will the owners of Next Cash n Carry be prosecuted in spite of the pathetic
situation they are in now, if found to have defaulted? How will we effectively
enforce the law of insurance of public buildings if we have to wait until a
time like this?
- What are other mall owners doing to show that they
have learnt from this incident? Last time, it was Ebeano Supermarket in
Lokogoma area of Abuja or have we forgotten so soon? Some malls are simply uninsurable
because of the way they were built without access to emergency response in the
event of fire but how many of our mall owners know this? Is insurance part of
the investments our mall and supermarket owners consider at the onset of the
- Due to the rampant and growing incidents of fire,
are our emergency management agencies mandated to recheck and confirm the
status of the malls, supermarkets and other public buildings before the next
incident? Do we appreciate that because of climate change, we are likely to
have incidents like this without human factor? Are our officials already
trained to understand this new developments? Should insurance not become part
of our emergency management ecosystem in view of the need to manage the
recoveries from the incident? Thankfully, official reports indicate that lives
were not lost but do we know how many lives will be lost in the months ahead
due to what happened yesterday? Who will identify those that were dependent on
Next Cash n Carry for their daily survival who will have no where to go to now
and assist them before they go bunkers?.
Sometimes, the call to duty of an Insurance Consultant
is very broad and overwhelming. This is one of those moments for me and I need
us all to come together to provide answers that will improve our lives and
We cannot continue losing our sources of well-being to
fire, count our losses as those of the owners and seek to move on.
Fire Incidents in
Commercial Buildings and Markets
Looking back at only 20 years ago, it is painful to
recall the magnitude of losses of lives and properties, especially in 2002,
when one hundred and twenty (120) persons were roasted to death in a fire
incident that occurred at a Taiwanese-owned factory based in Odogwuyan at
Ikorodu, Lagos and involved in the manufacture of rubber slippers, aluminium
spoon and bottled water. Reports stated that the number of casualties would
have been lower if the exits were not locked.
More casualties and fatalities have been recorded from
fire incidents in commercial premises where cooking gas are dispensed. Reported
cases in Anambra, Kano, Lagos, Niger, Ogun, Sokoto and Zamfara have continued
to strain our memories.
Fire incidents in popular markets across the country on
annual basis have become like rituals and sometimes the investigations into the
reasons for the disasters are never uncovered and reported.
Quite unfortunately, the insurance industry has not
been able to reach a consensus with the governments at different levels on the
best approaches to curb these incidents in future.
Commercial buildings and markets are often approved
and developed with little consideration for fire stations and access to them in
the event of emergency. It is common knowledge that poor access to the
properties gutted by fire have contributed more to the total cost of losses.
With this situation across the country, insurers are
wary of providing insurance coverage as the probability of loss to fire is
Getting Fire Insurance cover for commercial buildings
requires the owners to provide the true valuation reports of their properties
and what they are used for and insurers, after inspection of the properties for
risk prevention tools, will give their rates. Depending on the details of the
buildings, rates can be as low as N400,000 annual premium for a building valued
Firstly, we need to see this as a national disaster
and call for all stakeholders including insurers to proffer solutions from
their perspectives to the problem.
It is considered that no one would invest in the
development of commercial buildings or markets and would want to allow
accidental fire incidents to destroy them. This is the first consideration for
any insurer today - the moral hazard of the owners!
Next, you want to ensure that all measures built-in to
detect smoke or stop the spread of fire are functional at all times. Often, it
is one aspect of the situation that makes the story even more saddening.
Insurance will continue to be the bedrock of the
economy and the more people know about it, the better we will all be.
Let's act proactively and now!
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 email@example.com and mobile +234-806-648-1111
Related Articles by Author
- Insurance: Losing the Gains of COVID-19?
- Three (3) Reasons Insurers Performed in 2020 Despite COVID-19
- The Insurance Coverages the Collapsed Tower Should Have Had and
Benefits Missed By Victims
Landscape for Actuarial Services
- Between Developing and Transforming the Insurance Industry: Who is
- How Culture
and Religion Can Deepen Insurance Penetration in Nigeria
- Can Nigeria Lead Africa's Insurance Industry?
- Lessons from Tokyo 2020: Insurance Perspectives of the Olympics
- Can These Three (3) Sectors Help Deepen Insurance Penetration in
- The Generation That Has Lived Without Insurance
MSME Day, Insurance Dares
- The Battle for Numbers: Going with 1.03m Individual Policyholders
- Time for Insurance to be Made Part of Our National Emergency
Without Insurance Amid Insecurity
- Thinking of an Insurance Policyholder as a CEO
- Could We Have Saved UNIC Insurance?
- For a
Better Tomorrow, Insure Today
- Why Insurance is Still Confusing to Many Nigerians
- Will You Buy Insurance Today?
- The Cost of
the Protests to the Insurance Industry
- Customers Expectation and the Insurance Industry in A New Normal
- Our Youths, Insurance and the Future
- Cyber Insurance - Its Relevance in the Emergent Cyber Ecosystem
Insurance as a Social Service
- AfCFTA: A Call to Action for the Insurance Sector - OpEd
- How Insurance Can Help us in 2021 and Beyond
- The Olden Days of Insurance versus The New Digitizables - OpEd
Corporate Insurance Business Thrives - OpEd
- Is Missing the Recapitalisation Deadline a Death Sentence?
- Is Insurance All About Claims?
Protests and the Challenges for Conventional Insurance
- Facts and Factors Behind Your Insurance Policies
- Recapitalization: Types, Sizes and Shapes of What to
- Nigeria Celebrates 60, Insurance
- Financial Inclusion-Changing the
Strategy for Growing Risk Protection
- How Policyholders' Complaints Are Improving Service
- Three Areas Digitization Will
- Is Insurance a Government-led
Private Business in Nigeria?
- Insurance: Switching from Hard
Sell to Soft Sell
- Protecting Us Through Insurance of Public Buildings
- The Battle of Principles: Insurance Versus Business
- Insurance: Leading through Women
- Insurance Sector: Drawing
Lessons From Others
- Insurance Sector Leadership Changes and PolicyHolders'
- Value Will Sell Faster And Longer
- Democratize Insurance, Empower
Citizens With Information
- Has the Insurance Act 2003 Made
Nigerians Poorer These Past Five Years?
- Insurance Is For Others, Not You
- Can Insurance Lead Nigeria's
- 20.Crisis of Identity Management,
COVID-19 And Insurance
- The Stalemate of Claims Payment
- 22.Is Insurance the Silent Guardian
- 23.Insurance Before And After The Virus
- 24.Insurances You Have, Unknown to You
- Insurance of Stolen Properties
- Insurance, Loved by Accident
- Fires, Markets and Insurance
- The Road Called
- Making Insurance Work in
Nigeria: Structural Realignment Required
- What's A Support System Without
- 2019 - The Year of More
- Insurance Recapitalization: Four
Reasons Why NAICOM Should Be Transparent
- .Insurance - Good Product, Served
- Why Fake Insurance Thrives in
- Rebuilding Trust In Insurance
- Insurance and Nigeria's Budget
of Sustaining Growth and Job Creation
- Making Claims Payment the Basis
Of Performance Measurement In The Insurance Sector
- 5 to 9 Insurance Questions for
Nigeria at 59
- Insurance Broking: Is
Diminishing Returns Setting In?
- An External Memo To The
President: How The Insurance Sub-Sector Can Help
- Where Are The Insurance
Amendment Bills Of 2008 And 2018?
- Kidnapping Insurance: Is It Hot
- The Insurance Sub-Sector: Its
Challenges As Opportunities For All
- Funeral Insurance - Bridging The
Divide Between Culture and Financial Planning
- Insurance Recapitalization in
Nigeria: What Policyholders Should Do Now!
- Nigeria: New Minimum Paid-Up
Share Capital Policy For Insurance And Reinsurance Firms
- The Benefits of Standardizing
the Insurance Industry
- Microinsurance And The New
National Minimum Wage
- Insurance In Nigeria:
Approaching 2020 Without Digital Solutions?
- PMB's Second Term and
- Meeting The Insurance Needs Of
Related News - Insurance
Group Partners With Insurance Companies to Offer Bancassurance to SMEs
Life Engages NCRIB, Restates Commitment to Quality Insurance Service
Building Collapse; a Time to Revisit Compulsory Insurance
- Reinsurance Price Rises Will Support Improving Sector Outlook
September 5.0: Stakeholders Call for Tech Disruption of Credit Insurance
- Old Mutual Reiterates Commitment to Nigerian Market
Sector Recapitalization: The Final Lap?
- Building a
Brighter Future Through Insurance
Insurance, Heirs Life Deliver on Promise to Help Customers Purchase
Insurance in Five Minutes
Grants Operational Licence to CHI Microinsurance
Officially Launches in Nigeria, Targets at least 8 African Countries by
- Be Future
Ready with Stanbic IBTC Insurance