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Motorists join garages protest against insurers

By Frankline Sunday | Published Sun, June 18th 2017 at 00:00, Updated June 17th 2017 at 20:52 GMT +3

Motorists have opposed a move by insurers to supply garages with spare parts for servicing and accident repairs, claiming that it exposes road users to more risk.

The protest comes following a recent decision by several insurance firms to venture into sourcing parts to cut costs of repairing and servicing vehicles. This has raised a storm between the firms and garage owners, with the latter accusing underwriters of obtaining cheap parts to save on costs.

“The quarrels are affecting service delivery in terms of the time these vehicles take to be repaired and the way the repairs are done,” said Peter Murima, an official of the Motorists Association of Kenya.

“We are worried that the feud is bad for vehicle owners as it compromises road safety and also gives motorists a raw deal,” he said.

Fraud cases

Data from the Insurance Regulatory Authority indicates that gross direct premiums from private, commercial and public service vehicles stood at Sh42 billion in 2015.

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In the last four months of 2016 alone, Kenyan insurance firms paid out Sh16.8 billion in claims to personal and commercial motorists, with firms saying that increased cases of fraud were eating into their profit margins.

Mr Murima says for several months now, insurance firms have opted to purchase and supply garages with spare parts, exposing innocent car owners to malpractice.

“For example, it takes between two and three months before the job is approved by the insurance firm, spare supplied to the garage and your car repaired,” he said.

The delay, he says, is despite regulations stating that claims should be settled within 30 days.

“Now garages are saying they cannot issue warranties for damages or accidents experienced after the repair has been done since they have not been involved in procuring the spare parts,” said Mr Murima.

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