- By the time her car was stolen, the expiry date was due in three days, September 21, 2017.
- This, Mburu said, meant that it was still comprehensively insured by Britam under the Certificate of Insurance she had.
Mary Nyokabi Mburu's car was stolen on September 19, 2017, and being insured with Britam General Insurance Company, she moved to claim compensation for the loss of the vehicle.
The Insurance Company however declined to compensate on the ground that the premium had not been fully paid.
Mburu moved to court seeking to have the court compel the company to compensate her but was not successful.
Not satisfied, she moved to Milimani Law Courts, Civil Division seeking to challenge the trial court's decision.
She acknowledged that the agreement signed between her and Britam required a full premium payment for her to get the claim.
The terms and conditions in the policy document stated that "the insurer would not assume any risk until the whole premium was fully paid".
She, however, noted that besides this, Fast Target Insurance Agency, Britam's agent, had allowed her to pay the premium instalments.
The arrangement was that she pay in monthly instalments despite what the insurance policy indicated.
Of the assessed annual premium of Sh64,830, Mburu paid two monthly instalments of Sh18,000, totalling to Sh36,000.
She argued that given that she had paid more than half of the annual amount and within the insured period, she ought to receive the compensation.
After payment, Mburu would be issued with monthly insurance certificates and at the material time she had three, covering the period between July 22, 2017 and September 21, 2017.
The distinct Certificate of Insurance indicated that the motor vehicle was comprehensively insured for that particular period indicated on the Certificate.
By the time her car was stolen, the expiry date was due in three days, September 21, 2017.
This, Mburu said, meant that it was still comprehensively insured by Britam under the Certificate of Insurance she had.
She argued that the acts of an agent squarely bind the principle as long as the agent acts within the scope of their actual or apparent authority even if the agent was acting fraudulently and in furtherance of his own interests.
On its part, Britam submitted that the Insurance Stickers which Mburu had cannot be a binding agreement, adding that the terms of agreement are contained in the Insurance Policy.
This, it added, did not override the Insurance Policy and Risk Debit Note which all informed Mburu that risk will be assumed upon payment of the full premium.
It said Fast Target's agreement with Mburu to pay in instalments lacked merit.
The High Court at Nairobi reviewed the case and found that Fast Target and Mburu had entered into a valid contract.
"I find that the trial court was not right in holding that the appellant (Mburu) was bound by the terms of the policy document. As an agent of the 1st respondent (Britam), the 2nd respondent (Fast Target) had implied authority to vary the terms of the contract," Judge Asenath Ongeri said.
She found that there was evidence that the vehicle had a valid one-month cover at the time it was stolen.
Delivering her judgement on August 25, 2023, the judge found that Britam was bound to compensate Mburu for the loss.
Judge Ongeri ordered that Britam pay Mburu Sh1.2 million in compensation for the loss of the car.
"I accordingly set aside the judgment and decree of the trial court and I substitute the same with judgment in favour of the appellant (Mburu) against the 1st respondent (Britam) in the sum of Sh1,200,000," she ordered.
Britam is also to pay the costs of the suit and interest from the date of filing the original suit until payment in full, and Mburu's cost of appeal.