Deputy News Editor
The Managing Director of Prestige Assurance Plc, Dr. Bala Swamy, on Friday said settlement of insurance claims of 148 victims of DANA Air disaster in June 2012 cost the company and other local insurers a whopping $66million.
This is 40 months after accident that threw Nigeria and the international community into mourning.
It would be recalled that over 153 passengers reportedly lost their lives following the crash of the DANA Air ill-fated airplane at Iju-Agege, a suburb of Lagos, during a return of routine commercial services from the Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja, in June 2012.
The development came on the heels of a separate payment of N2.89 billion claims to customers of Prestige Assurance Plc as at September 30, 2015.
Dr. Swamy who made the revelation while fielding questions from newsmen shortly after sounding the closing gong ceremony at the Capital Market in Lagos, said Prestige Assurance believed that its act of prompt payment of claims would help in building the confidence of the public Nigeria.
Describing the DANA Air crash as a national disaster, he stressed that the air accident claims reported in United States of America (U.S.A) were successfully handled by negotiation and compromising all claims with foreign reinsurer’s payment of $23million while Prestige Assurance and other local insurers whose names were not made public paid $10million.
Also, payment of insurance claims to 148 victims of the ill-fated DANA Air Brazilian manufactured airplane gulped $33million.
Prominent among the eminent Nigerian citizens that lost life in the DANA Air fatal accident include the late Prof. Val Onwuliri and the General Manager, Affairs, Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC), Dr. Levi Ajuonuma amongst nation- ale of other countries.
He however, explained that out of 774 claims settled by the company, payment of fire claims topped list by 54 per cent.
Continuing, Dr. Swamy, said the solvency margin of the company increased to N6.14billion from N4.59billion as at December 31, 2014, bearing testimony to the strength and capacity of its in meeting its future obligations.
He said had mapped out strategies to grow its premium income at the end of 2015 by 15 per cent from N2.6billion in contrast to the 2014 figure of N3billion, amidst improving its profit after tax from N14million to N199million this year.
He said the company, in furtherance of its efforts to support Nigeria’s local content is currently financing reinsurance programme for oil and energy treaty to the tune of $10million. According to him, the programme covers Nigeria’s oil and energy risks both on shore and off shore as well as U.S aviation.
The company had also in a bid to improve its profitability engaged in the process of re-engineering whereby it no longer underwrite the foreign facultative business in compliance with the National Insurance of Nigeria’s (NAiCOM’s) No Premium, No Policy and concentrated on domestic business.
The move is geared towards establishing the strategic business unit in order to create a platform to compete favourably with counterparts, he emphasised.
Other strategies adopted by the company to attain its vision of becoming one of the top three insurance company in Nigeria is going into e-business through introduction of e-insurance policies while two more products were being expected before the end of the year.
In addition, Prestige Assurance Plc, is embarking on branch expansion with the proposed opening of two more branch offices in Apapa and Ikeja to complete the services of the existing four branches before the end of the year.
Dr. Swamy said the opening of the additional two new branch offices would enable the company render efficient valuable services to its numerous clients.