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Associated Airlines: Victims, families panic as speculations mount over insurance status of crashed plane

By The Citizen

Following media reports that of the crashed Associated Airlines aircraft may have been flying using fake insurance certificates, there are fears among the victims and their families that they might not get the anticipated insurance compensations.

The ill-fated airline which was conveying the body of the former Governor of Ondo State, Chief Olusegun Agagu, his family members and government officials to Akure for burial crashed close to the aviation fuel tank farm inside the premises of the Federal Airport Authority of Nigeria (FAAN) in Mafoluku minutes after take-off.

However, an insurance firm mentioned as the airline's insurer, Nigeria-Re, has denied the existence of any insurance contract between it and the airlines, saying that such claims were not only false but made by people who do not understand the way the insurance industry is organised.

The Managing Director of Nigeria-Re, Mrs. Isioma Chukwuma, disclosed that her organisation was never at any time the official insurer of Associated Airlines.

She explained that her organisation, being a reinsurance company, does not transact any business with insureds or policyholders, adding that reinsurance companies insures risks taken by primary insurance companies and as such could not have had any insurance transaction with the airline.

It was also gathered that the second insurance firm named by the carrier, Sema Insurance, was not registered with the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM). A further check with the umbrella body for insurance broking firms in the country, the Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers (NCRIB), also confirmed that Sema Insurance was not on its list.

Meanwhile, the Minister of Aviation, Ms. Stella Oduah, told journalists in Abuja yesterday that it would not be right for the government to speculate on the insurance status of the ill-fated aircraft since the report on a probe by the Accident Investigation Bureau had yet to be released.

She said, 'For now, if I answer you, it would amount to  speculation  because AIB, whose responsibility it is to know, has not finished with the investigation. We don't have enough facts for me to tell you what it is that you want me to tell you. So, I don't know what you are talking about.

'I really want to beg every one of you (journalists) to stop speculating. We do not speculate on accidents and this is because we are going to have a preliminary report. The report  will tell you the exact state of the insurance, and whether it is there or not and you will have it as facts.' - Thisday.