FG introduces insurance cover for air travellers

By The Citizen

The Federal Government on Thursday said it had developed a new Victim Family Insurance Package in a bid to address the delays in payment of insurance claims by airlines whenever an air crash occurred.

Speaking at a press briefing and stakeholders' forum on aviation safety in Abuja, the acting Director-General, Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority, Mr. Joyce Nkemakolam, said the VFAP would serve as additional assistance to families of victims of aircraft accidents.

He said the initiativehas becomes necessary following complaints by relatives of victims of the June 3, 2012 Dana Air crash in Lagos that they have not been compensated

Nkemakolam,  said the Nigerian Insurance Commission had approved the VFAP, the proposal of which was submitted by a Deposit Money Bank, and that discussions were ongoing between the government and the bank on the implementation of the insurance package.

According to him, the government will also create a family assistance centre where relatives of air crash victims will be able to interface with the government and get their claims without passing through unnecessary rigours.

He said, 'However, passengers are required to pay a premium of N600 only, which will be embedded in the ticket charges. This initiative is something we must do because we discovered that most times, families of victims of air crashes are traumatised.

'Many of them don't know what to do and they don't know where to run to. So, we came up with the idea of creating a system where these people will be adequately taken care of, counselled and directed on what to do to alleviate their sorrows. It is important to state that this is a major issue that the government wants to address.'

In her reaction, the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, said the Dana Air crash of June 3, 2012 remained a major blot in an otherwise remarkable two years of her stewardship.

She said, 'While the nation awaits the final report of investigation into the crash from the Accident Investigation and Prevention Bureau, I wish to state unequivocally that the ministry has been working round the clock since the incident to ensure that such a sad event never happens again in our airspace.

'In the last one year, NCAA has worked closely with Dana Air, relevant insurance companies and the Lagos State Government to ensure the expeditious processing and payment of claims and compensation to families of victims,' Oduah said.