CONTRACTORS ALL RISKS INSURANCE

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1 CONTRACTORS ALL RISKS INSURANCE PREAMBLE One evidence of development or democratic dividend is massive works in the construction of roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, waste disposal or recycling sites, power generating structures, etc, by contractors. These activities involve a lot of risks, which must be hedged against by the contractor, to protect his employees, to protect the organisation against third party injuries/damages and to meet safety standards in the industry. Contractors-All-Risks which, address this industry problem, is the focus of this week s insurance parliament. Safety standards Construction sites are not the best of places to visit. They are not only very dirty and disorganised, objects occasionally and unexpectedly fly around from higher floors in high-rise buildings to the ground with the possibility of causing injuries or damages. Cranes are used to convey mixed concretes to places where casting is required to be done. Accordingly, the safety standards required in construction sites are very high. Besides screening the site away from passers by, the employees and all who visit the sites are required to wear protective helmets, boots and nose protectors. The latter is particularly important for employees who work in the cement silos where they inhale a lot of cement particles, which are known to cause asthma, and other breathe-related diseases. In spite of these safety standards, a lot of accidences still take place in construction sites particularly to operators of equipments and labourers who need to move from place to place as the phases of the construction work are being carried out. In certain cases, the materials procured for the execution of the project may be destroyed by fire, damaged by thieves, by Act of God (for instance, rain storm), etc. Except the contractor is protected through insurance cover, his business might be run aground, if the damage is very significant, with pervasive social impact. Here lies the need for contractors to procure insurance products that will insulate them from the financial burden of any accident. The contractor can resolve to have the following categories of insurance products: all risk insurance policy, erection all risk policy or contractors all risk insurance, which is all-inclusive. ALL RISKS INSURANCE POLICY This policy covers the insured item(s) against all risks of loss/damage by fire, theft, or any other accidental loss or misfortunes except specifically excluded under the policy. To procure this policy, a prospective policyholder must provide full information or inventory of all items to be insured and their corresponding values supported by the purchase receipt or invoice. In the event of the

2 occurrence of the disaster insured against (e.g., material fire incident), the policyholder will need to complete a claims form, provide the estimated cost of repairs, the purchase receipt or invoice and any other relevant documents. If the disaster was in the form of theft, all the above documents will similarly provided. In addition however, a Police report will be required since thievery is a criminal offence. In other words, the report of the police indicating what happened and steps taken to find the criminals will be required by the insurer. This insurance product is particularly important because it protects the contractor from financial loses that may arise from any unforeseen damage to the structure under construction. In other words, this policy provides compensation to the Insured for any sudden and unforeseen loss or damage at the erection site as a result of: Material Damage to the insured properties. Damage to the existing properties of the principal. Damage to plant and machinery of the contractor at the site. Insured s liability to third parties (death, bodily injury and loss or damage to properties) consequent upon the happening of an event at the erection site. Employees personal effects, if required. In the order to procure the policy, the following documentation would be required: The Contract Agreement/ Values. The Limit Anyone Occurrence in Public Liability Section Values of Plant and Machineries at site. Limit on Employees Personal effects In the event of a material loss or damage to the insured, the following documentation would be required: Completed claim form Statement of claim Estimate of repairs Written statement from two or three witnesses Any other relevant documents The statements from witnesses are to affirm the accidental nature of the occurrence and to add credibility to the claim. This often helps to preclude a situation in which policy- holders wilfully damage the insured property with a view to making financial gains.

3 CONTRACTORS-ALL-RISKS INSURANCE This is the all-inclusive insurance policy which covers every aspect of civil construction projects including, the engineering and structural works, the temporary buildings erected in the site, the working tools, existing properties of the principal, materials meant for the contract, etc. It is therefore a good product for such projects as residential/commercial buildings, theatres, factory sheds, warehouses, roads, bridges, dams, reservoirs, tunnels, gas and oil pipelines, water and sewage disposal works, etc. It provides cover for fire and allied perils, storm, flood, cyclones, tempest, collapse, water damage for wet risks, etc. It also provides cover to third party liabilities in respect of: Death Bodily injury to persons Damage to third party property The period of the policy is the number of months the construction will last, either 24 months or 36 months etc. There is also provision for the maintainance period which is always 12 months. During this periods any loss occurring will be covered by the policy. The premium payable depends on the nature of the construction work and the construction period of the project. To procure the insurance product, the following documentation would be required: Value of the contract Works, Temporary Buildings and Principal existing property. Limits of Liability for public liability Values of Plant and Machineries. In many cases, it is possible to extend the policy to cover other areas such as storage risks at fabrication sites, breakages of glasses, clearance and removal of debris, surrounding property and escalation, etc. However, irrespective of the cover and extensions offered, safety standards cannot be compromised. In other words, the fact that the product has been procured does not mean that the contractor will not meet the safety standards prescribed by law and regulations for the industry. The existence of those minimum standards are a precondition for the procurement of the policy, otherwise, the insurer will be reluctant to provide the required cover or would do so at a higher premium. This explains, for instance, why many construction sites are fenced off to prevent pedestrians from malingering around the project site. In spite of the care taken, accidents can still happen. In the event of an unforeseen accident and material damage, the following documentation would be required: Completed claim form Statement of claim Estimate of repairs Written statement from two or three witnesses

4 Any other relevant documents In spite of its wide scope of coverage, there are often exclusions to this policy, which must be mentioned. These include: War and nuclear risks Wilful acts and negligence Partial and total cessation of work Normal wear and tear Gradual deterioration to atmospheric conditions Loss or damage due to faulty design Contractual liabilities Consequential losses Cost of replacement, repair or rectification of defective material and or workmanship. In view of the above exclusion clauses, it is advisable and indeed, expedient, while deciding to procure any other policies discussed above, to seek the opinion of an experienced professional insurance broker so that you can obtain maximum value at least cost. As noted last week, this is particularly important from three perspectives. First, business is about profit maximisation and cost minimisation. The use of the services of a professional will lead to the achievement of these goals. Secondly, because of the complex and technical language in which insurance contracts are often drafted, you need a professional who understands the various terms and jargons and who can advise on what to accept and not to accept. Other wise, you may procure an inadequate liability insurance policy. Thirdly, your unique needs will be met by the prospective insurer, as your broker will explain the details of your needs to the prospective insurer. This information will enhance the insurer s understanding of your business and in the determination of the premium to be charged. These will also lead to better bargain and value for the business. COMPOLSORY NATURE OF CONTRACTORS ALL RISK INSURANCE It is compulsory now that a contractors All risk Insurance be taken before commencement of any construction work in Nigeria. We need to commend the present commissioner for Insurance, Mr Fola Daniel for ensuring that this is in place. However, implementation is still lacking. I want to suggest that insurance companies should come together under one umbrella in ensuring that this law is implemented to the letter. Concluding Remarks

5 From the discourse above, it should become obvious that contractors must of necessity procure products that will shield their business from avoidable financial losses that may arise from litigations for injuries/damages sustained in the site by employees or caused to third parties by construction works, etc. Such insurance products as Erection All-Risks or Contractors-All-Risks can be procured. We also noted that the purchase of any of these policies is not a substitute for the maintenance of industry standards. Indeed, we advised that adherence to the set standards will be a precondition for the procurement of the policy cover otherwise, the premium will be calculated to take care of additional risks that may arise. We also noted that accidents and damages to properties in the sites and construction materials may occur even when safety standards are complied with. Here lies the importance of the policy procured as it would re-instate the contractor to the position he was prior to the accident. FEEDBACK As a broker, I am aware that many contractors experience challenges in these areas particularly with exclusion clauses and interpretation of the policy documents. And these give the insured the false impression that they are covered by the policy whereas, they were not. I encourage them to share their experiences with this page so that we can proffer professional advise on the way forward. I also encourage underwriters to share their experiences with this page on the trend in this area of insurance which is not very popular yet important to businesses in the construction sector of the economy. Please speak to Funmi on this page called INSURANCE PARLIAMENT. See you next week on this page. Send E- mail to Mrs. Funmi Babington-Ashaye, FCII, FCIIN. MD/CEO, Risk Analyst Insurance Brokers limited

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