Cadillac owner decries insurer’s pay-off delays

The proprietor of Cadillac night club, which was destroyed by fire in November, last year, has expressed frustrations over Sonarwa’s delays to compensate for damages.
Fire last year left Cadillac Culb in ruins. The New Times/ File.
Fire last year left Cadillac Culb in ruins. The New Times/ File.

The proprietor of Cadillac night club, which was destroyed by fire in November, last year, has expressed frustrations over Sonarwa’s delays to compensate for damages.

Eugene Habimana, alias Cobra, told this paper last week that the insurer (Sonarwa) has been dilly-dallying whenever he reminds them to meet their obligation.

“It’s now nine months since Cadillac was gutted and my business is grounded. Cadillac is no more,” he said.

Cobra said he has received a compensation letter from Sonarwa but he is not happy with the insurer’s offer.

“We are still in negotiations until we come to mutual terms. I have been paying insurance premiums at Sonarwa since the club first opened and I didn’t expect to take this long without compensation,” he said.

Apart from Old Cadillac, adjacent to Mysterious Club, and the recreational area for children, the rest of the club was gutted by fire.

Sonarwa faults proprietor

However, Allen Karungi, Sonarwa’s head of corporate communications, blamed Cobra for the delays, saying the insurer has already issued an offer letter detailing compensation modalities.

“In every insurance company, compensation is a process. We did not take long to compensate but the Cadillac proprietor took long to bring to us what we had asked him. He shouldn’t blame us because he delayed to fulfil our compensation procedures,” she said.

This paper understands Cobra was asked for the investigation report concerning the cause of the fire. But sources said Sonarwa was supposed to write to Police asking for the report, which the insurer delayed to do.

Karungi said if Cobra is not contented with what was indicated in the offer letter, he had a right to contest it in writing.

“We are still waiting for him to respond to our offer letter,” Karungi said, adding that Sonarwa is offering Cobra Rwf125 million in compensation.

Cobra is claiming Rwf700 million.

Without divulging details, Karungi said, “A lot of things are considered before any compensation claim is made and that is why Sonarwa is offering that amount.”

Cobra, who has worked in the entertainment business for more than 20 years, started Cadillac Club in August 1994 in Remera before relocating it to the present place in Kimihurura a year later.

Kigali has been experiencing fire incidents that have left properties worth millions of francs destroyed in the last few years. In 2010, B-Club Discotheque located in the upscale Nyarutarama area in Gasabo District, was left in ruins.

Other popular hangouts that have been burned down include Executive Carwash in Kimihurura, Downtown Café and La Classe, both located in the city centre.

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