Twenty-year old Africa Merchant Assurance Company associated with Deputy President William Ruto risks closing its doors after seven people filed a petition in the High Court seeking its liquidation, Business Daily Reports.
In a Kenya Gazette notice dated December 16, the firm of B.W Kamunge advocates has invited other claimants to join the petition against the underwriter that will be heard on January 30, 2020.
“…a petition for the liquidation of the above mentioned company by the High Court was on the 7th November, 2019, presented to the said court by Beth Wairimu Kahara and another and 6 others,” the notice said.
“Any creditor or contributory of the said company desirous to support or oppose the making of an order on the said petition may appear in person of by his advocate for that purpose,” the law firm said, adding that a copy of the petition will be furnished by the petitioners’ advocates to any creditor or contributory of the said company at a fee.
The reason behind the petitioners’ move to liquidate the loss-making firm which has in the recent years struggled to return to profitability was not immediately clear.
The latest move adds to the firm’s woes which according to a recent Insurance Regulatory Authority’s (IRA) report closed the year with the highest cases of customer complaints due to delayed settlement.
According to the IRA, Amaco reported 1,649 cases of unsettled liability claims with none settled compared to its second quarter’s 1,705 cases during which 169 were settled.
Outstanding non-liability claims stood at 2,005 cases up from 1,907 reported in the quarter during which 444 fresh claims were made and 346 claims paid.
Earlier in June, auctioneer raided the offices of the underwriter on Mombasa Road, Nairobi, over a Sh15 million debt owed to Mama Rael Medical Clinic.
In 2018 September, auctioneers stormed the insurer’s Nyeri branch of Africa Merchant Assurance Company (Amaco) and carried away furniture and machines worth over Sh100,000.
Last year, Amaco recorded a Sh75 million after-tax profit mainly boosted by lower operating costs. Liabilities decreased to 17 percent to stand at Sh1.8 billion compared to Sh2.1 billion the previous year.
The firm drew up to 62.6 per cent of its business worth Sh2 billion from motor premiums.
Amaco controls a 1.69 percent share of the insurance market.
Kenya Pipeline Scandal
In April 2019, the Senate committee on Energy put the acting Kenya Pipeline Company Managing Director Hudson Adambi to task to explain how Amaco, a firm linked to Deputy president William Ruto won a tender worth Ksh400 million without tendering.
The KPC management floated a multimillion-shillings insurance cover that was won by Sedgwick Kenya Insurance Brokers and Co-operatives Insurance Company (CIC) as an underwriter but one month after the contract was signed, Amaco was introduced as a second underwriter.
“There was no provision for coinsurance in the contract documents. CIC handled All Risk Insurance for KPC before another underwriter, Amaco came in through Sedgwick,” Hudson Andambi, the acting KPC managing director told the Senate committee on Energy chaired by Ephraim Maina.
“Amaco came in after the award of the contract to CIC but before the contract was signed. Sedgwick introduced Amaco.”
The committee resolved to invite Sedgwick, CIC and Amaco to shed light on the insurance dealings at KPC.
The KPC procured insurance services for the period July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019 through open tender.
Kisumu oil jetty
The cover is for KPC’s large capital assets including the Kisumu oil jetty, tanks (identified as PS10) and Mombasa-Nairobi pipeline (Line V) against terrorism, sabotage, political violence, industrial risks and commercial and general liability.
However, three months after CIC Insurance signed the contract, Sedgwick the broker for KPC assets, approached KPC on September 9, 2016 “to confirm if it is in order” to co-insure 20 percent of the business “awarded to us” to Amaco.
On September 16, 2016, then KPC managing director Joe Sang granted a no objection to co-insure to Amaco, according to an audit of the contract, now in possession of the DCI.
Mr Andambi, who accompanied Petroleum Cabinet Secretary John Munyes, could not explain how Amaco was brought on board.
“Perhaps CIC talked to Sedgwick to say insurance risk is too heavy let me offload it to Amaco,” he said.
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