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Slow Information Delays Insurance Indemnities Payment 

By Joe Dinga Pefok

CameroonPostline.com — The General Manager of Chanas Assurances SA, Henri Frederic Ewele, has stated that slow flow of information delays payment of indemnities by insurance companies. He said one of the major problems that hamper the payment of indemnities to victims of accidents covered by insurance policies, is the usually long delay in the flow of information between the major actors in the process.

Ewele was speaking at the opening ceremony of a colloquium of Chanas Assurance SA and technical experts in the insurance sector, held in Douala on November 7. He stated that contrary to what many members of the public think, the length of time which insurance companies take to pay indemnities to victims of accidents does not depend on the insurance companies alone.

Ewele said when a motor accident occurs, the process for the payment of indemnities to victims by the insurance company concerned starts with the police who prepare a report about the accident and send to the insurance company concerned. The insurance company, he went on, then contacts a licensed consultancy in the insurance sector and hands over the file to the technical expert, who then goes down to the field on a mission outline in the CIMA Code. The consultancy at the end of its findings prepares a report and presents to the insurance company.

It is on the basis of the report of the technical expert that the insurance company works out the amount of money to pay as indemnities to victims concerned, based on what the CIMA Code recommends. The fee paid to the consultancy is also according to the CIMA Code. The Chanas Assurance boss remarked that the insurance legislation in the CIMA Zone where Cameroon belongs, keeps insisting on rapid payment of indemnities by insurance companies to victims of accidents.

Ewele said dialogue, like the colloquium which his company organised, is very necessary between the different actors involved in the process of the payment of indemnities. He said the actors need to concert and see in what way the process can be ameliorated to speed up work and make information to flow more rapidly and ameliorate the quality of their work.

Role Of Technical Experts

An expert in the insurance sector, Socrates Nkoa Ewodo, presented a paper on the role of technical experts in the insurance sector. He named three types of experts in the sector: the technical expert whose mission is to go down to the field to, among things, identify the property damaged by the accident (motor accident, accident at work, fire disaster and so on).

The technical expert also determines the circumstances under which the accident occurred, the items damaged, evaluates the damages and indicates to the insurance company the appropriate modalities by which it can repair the damages or pay indemnity to the victim. Medical experts in the insurance sector are concerned with human beings who sustain injuries or lose their lives, as result of accidents.

If the victim of a motor accident sustained an injury, for example, the medical expert will, among other things in his field work, as well as in his report, describe the injury. He will also indicate the appropriate type of treatment, determine either the period of temporary incapacity of the victim or if the incapacity will be permanent, verify the authenticity of the receipts of the drugs allegedly bought by the victim, as well as check the authenticity of the medical bills.

If the victim of an accident is reported to have unfortunately lost his life, part of the work of the medical expert will be to find how the victim died and whether, medically, the death was directly as a result of the accident or was due to something else. The third category of experts is expert-investigators. The expert investigator is sent to the field in a case where an insurance company, a technical expert or medical expert suspects attempted fraud.

The attempted fraud can be in the form of falsified documents presented by a victim of an accident. Another can be in the form of impersonation, when a crook tries to pass for the real beneficiary of an indemnity. It can also be in the form of a false claim or allegation made by somebody that he is a victim of an accident. Meanwhile, in a situation where the expert-investigator establishes that there is a real attempted fraud, the insurance company concerned will file a law suit against the incriminated person or persons.

The President of the Association of Technical Experts in the Insurance Sector in Cameroon, Frederic Djeuhon, and one of the doyens among the technical experts, Hon. Albert Dzongang, as well as the representative of the Association of Insurance Companies in Cameroon, ASAC, all lauded the initiative taken by the management of Chanas Assurance to organise the colloquium. The different speakers remarked that it was the first time since 1975 that an insurance company in Cameroon has taken the initiative to organise a meeting with technical experts.

First published in The Post print edition no 01478

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