By Caroline Kandiero – The Daily Times

Eastern Produce SettlementNICO General Insurance Company has settled a record MK914 Million claim from Eastern Produce Limited (EPL) following the damage of one of the company’s tea factories in Makwasa in Thyolo district.

NICO General Chief Executive Officer Eric Chapola said the settlement of such a huge claim demonstrates the company’s commitment to coverage or its customers when they suffer losses.

He said NICO General has managed to settle the claim because of synergies it went into with other players in the industry in the coverage of the policy.

“When you have a big risk, do not be greedy. Share it with other market players,” said Chapola.

He disclosed that NICO General collaborated with other companies such as Real Insurance, General Alliance and UGI who have mobilised resources in fulfilling the cover.111cy

They all had small shares in this and their partnership has given us breathing space. We shared the risk and all of us have finally paid, with us taking the lead,” said Chapola

He however acknowledged that the claim payment took time because it was huge and needed professionals to handle it.

It has taken two years to pay the claim because the factory had to be rebuilt. We have been paying interim payments along the way. Finally we are paying K9I4m to conclude the claim today,” he said.

Chapola said one of the challenges faced was that the country does not have expertise to assess such a big claim.

“We had to import an assessor from Kenya. With a big claim like this tune, we also had to find out exactly what caused the fire, hence we had to import a forensic expert from South Africa. But we also used local expertise such as quantity surveyors to quantify the values we had to pay,” said Chapola.

On his part, Eastern Produce Managing Director Richard Tilley, said the development has been an eye opener and that Nico has proven to be the best insurance company.

“Indeed the claim payment took time and we also had our disagreements on the way. But today. we are happy and satisfied that NICO handled our claim professionally,” said Tilley.

He said the new tea factory is one of the few such structures in the country and has bean built in such a way that it will help tea production in the country.

“This is the first tea factory built in like 40 years. The rest were built before that and we have built the factory in a more modem manner that will see tea production and quality improve.” He said.

In the picture below, Chapola (right) hands over a symbolic cheque to Tilley (centre) as another official looks on.