ONGWEDIVA – A South African-owned insurance company has refuted allegations made by a northern businessman over a disputed insurance claim.
Businessman Johannes Andjamba recently filed a N$500 000 lawsuit against King Price insurance over a claim involving one of his long-haul trucks that was involved in an accident in Zambia and damaged beyond repair.
According to court documents, Andjamba is demanding a cash pay-out or a replacement of his vehicle.
The conflict between the two parties stems from King Price allegedly refusing to honour Andjamba’s claim after the businessman cut his accident-damaged truck into pieces to enable him to transport it back to Namibia, rendering it impossible to assess and determine the damage.
According to Andjamba’s particulars of claim, King Price is defaulting on its promise after it told him to bring back the wreckage to Namibia.
In his interview with a local online publication, Andjamba said, “nothing in our agreement prevented me from dismantling or cutting up the truck for purposes of transporting the wreckage for assessment by King Price. The actions I undertook to authorise the cutting up of the wreckage into easily transported parts was the only reasonable one and did not prevent King Price from assessing the damage caused by the accident”.
Giving their side of the story, King Price Namibia CEO Braam Vermeulen explained Andjamba Construction CC notified King Price of an alleged accident in Zambia, whereby his driver allegedly collided with another truck, of which no information or contact details of the third party could be provided.
“King Price informed the client that as per the insurance contract, with reference to the repatriation clause, it is his responsibility to bring the truck back to Namibia, whereby it will be assessed accordingly. The insurer has the right to repair, replace, settle in cash or a combination of the aforementioned. In general, once a vehicle or truck has been repatriated, the damages will be assessed, quantified and, according to the insurer’s in-house policy, either be repaired or deemed uneconomical to repair and written off. This is standard insurance practice,” Vermeulen said.
Several weeks after the alleged incident, Vermeulen said the truck was brought back to Namibia; however, the wreckage was cut up into pieces.
“Completely destroyed, making it impossible to do a fair assessment on the alleged damages sustained and if the repair was possible,” he said, adding that if a vehicle or truck is estimated uneconomical to repair and written off, the salvage, which then becomes the insurer’s property, still has economic value.
However, in this case, the client significantly reduced this value by destroying the truck.
As per their contract, he said, they agreed a client must take all reasonable and necessary steps to prevent or minimise loss or damage of the insured property.
Vermeulen, however, claims Andjamba operated outside the scope of their contract and materially prejudiced the insurer of their rights by destroying the truck.
“It is also imperative to note that insurance is based on a contract, whereby both parties have certain obligations to perform. If one party operates outside the ambit of the contract, he or she is in breach of the said contract,” he noted.
Andjamba could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print.