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Family fights derail Sh1.8b police insurance payouts

By Cyrus Ombati | Jan 22nd 2020 | 4 min read
By Cyrus Ombati | January 22nd 2020

National Police Service Commission chairperson Eliud Kinuthia in Nairobi on November 13, 2019. [David Njaaga,Standard]

More than Sh1.8 billion unprocessed claims for police and prison officers are pending at an insurance firm because of disputes involving dependants.

Pioneer Assurance CEO David Ronoh told a panel of commissioners and specialists from the National Police Service Commission that some of the disputes were before court and as such there was little they could do.

Mr Ronoh noted that up to 14 per cent of personnel at the National Police Service and Prisons have not updated their records.

He made the remarks when he appeared before the commission, which is interrogating the performance of the firm providing group life insurance cover for police and prison officers.

Innovative ways

Ronoh called for innovative ways of involving chiefs and local leaders from the officers’ villages in resolving the disputes to enable Pioneer Assurance process the claims.

Commission Chairman Eliud Kinuthia said the panel has been informed that some of the officers and their dependants are not aware of what they are entitled to and how to claim their benefits from the insurance cover.

The government pays a host of insurance companies millions for civil servants, but some spend years claiming the payouts.

Interior Cabinet Secretary Fred Matiang’i warned they would cancel contracts of non-performing insurance companies and vowed to deal with those that do not deliver.

He spoke late last year when he hosted widows and widowers of slain police officers.

“In consultation with the AG, we’ll cancel contracts of non-performing insurance companies. We will only deal with firms and service providers who value the work we do. Widows and widowers of officers who have died in the line of duty will no longer be denied services they deserve,” he said.

The Interior minister wondered why the companies should be paid millions, but in turn frustrate families that seek compensation.

Matiang’i asked the chairman of the National Police Service to immediately table a report on the companies for swift action.

Well cared for

“I hope the chairman will bring me the performance report of the companies. We must ensure that the widows of those who have laid down their lives for our country are well cared for,” he said.

At least 142 police officers have died in the past eight years while in the line of duty.

Meanwhile, the vetting of private security firms has started with a push for enlisting the guards in the war on crime.

The firms have been ordered to submit relevant documents with their regulatory agency to enhance vetting.

“The government has started vetting and licensing of all private security providers in the country pursuant to sections 23 and 29 of the Private Security Regulations Act of 2016,” said part of a memo from the Interior ministry.

The law requires that security vetting is a prerequisite for registration of corporate private security providers.

“Only private security providers who have been vetted and cleared will be considered for licensing by March 31, 2020,” said the ministry.

The security providers were asked to submit the company certificate of incorporation or formal registration document, identification documents for directors, certificate of good conduct, shareholders certificate (CR12), and copy of Kenya Revenue of Authority Pin certificate.

They are also required to submit three years of audited accounts of their firms, two colored passport size photo of every director, immigration status and valid work permits for expatriates; physical addresses of their directors and shareholders and those performing executive functions in the firms.

This comes as President Uhuru Kenyatta asked police to work more closely with the firms and coordinate various operations in the country.

“I want these units to work more closely with the private security industry and coordinate with multi-agency counter terrorism agencies, so as to provide effective cover with regard to potential terrorist targets,” Uhuru told a security meeting in Mombasa.

The president said he appreciated the integration of assets, liabilities and other resources formerly under Administration Police Service.

Each private security guard will have a unique identification number tagged on their chests as part of new strategies to address challenges.

The number will be displayed alongside the badge of employer of the respective guards as it is the case for police. This will be mandatory for all private security providers to be licensed to operate.

New training

The Private Security Regulatory Authority (PSRA) has rolled out a new training guide for the more than 500,000 members of the private security sector to enhance their ability to handle various challenges.

It will take each of the serving guard five days to cover the curriculum while new ones will take two months.

The curriculum is part of the requirements of the Private Security Regulations Act of 2016, which requires every private security provider to undergo annual mandatory training accredited by the PSRA.

“Guards are the first line of defence in any form of crime and there is need for them to be well-trained,” said PSRA CEO Fazul Mohamed.

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