Insurers okay use of liquefied gas as alternative fuel for motorists

Insurers okay use of liquefied gas as alternative fuel for motorists

Motorists can now use liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) as alternative fuel after the insurers’ association, the Association of Kenya Insurers (AKI) gave them the green light.

This follows a site visit to an energy company and several meetings that assessed the findings. The meetings and inspection tour of the gas plant showed that there is no increased risk in issuing covers for vehicles using LPG.

The Association of Kenya Insurers' nod is contained in a circular dated October 13, 2021.

The fact-finding mission was prompted by Proto Energy Ltd's presentation to the association’s motor technical committee on the use of LPG in vehicles.

While the report from AKI okayed the use of LPG, it says insurers can only provide covers to vehicles with such a system as an ‘accessory’.

“The purpose of this circular is, therefore, to advise members that motor vehicles fitted with LPG can be insured without fear of any increased risk,” the circular signed by AKI Chief Executive Officer Tom Gichuhi partly reads.

According to the circular, the LPG system does not increase the risk of damage to a vehicle in the event of an accident. “The assessor also recommended that warranties and exclusions can be included in relation to the insured to inform the insurer and the insured to keep service records, vehicles to display an identification sign,” it adds. 

The cover will also exclude substandard installations. The greenlight comes months after notices from some insurance firms showed they will not provide covers to vehicles that have the LPG system.

Some insurers such as UAP Insurance Company had previously warned that some motorists do not have a manufacturer’s approval to alter the fuel system from petrol or diesel to gas.

GM Underwriting also issued a similar notice in August.

A report filed by a team that inspected the process of converting the fuel consumption system of vehicles to gas at Proto Energy detailed some of the safety features that these automobiles are fitted with to enhance their safety.

“Repairs in the event of damage requires persons well trained in the installation of the system,” reads the report in part.

So far Proto Energy has fitted 3,500 vehicles with the system. Some of the safety features include the fact that the cylinder is three millimetres thick and made of steel.

“The gas is filled through a filling valve which has an automatic fill limiter,” reads the findings. “A switch in the dashboard allows one to select the required option at will. There is a seamless changeover while on the move.”

There are also pressure relief valves that ensure the internal tank pressure stays within the safe tolerance limits.

“If the engine stops, the flow of gas stops automatically. In the event of an accident, the system has an automatic shutdown valve,” it explains.

The findings from this visit, the report notes, tally with other studies which uphold the safety levels of LPG system fitted vehicles.

“Another technical assessment was done by another assessor on behalf of a member company. The conclusion was the same as integrated motor assessors,” reads part of the findings.

The team concluded that the use of LPG does not necessarily make the vehicle riskier. “It was established that South Korea, Italy and Poland are the main users of LPG vehicles,” reads the findings. “The LPG system can be insured as an accessory to the motor vehicle.”