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Types of engineering insurance

There are six headings under which engineering plant may generally be grouped. These are

  • Boilers and pressure plants
  • Engine plant
  • Lifting and handling machinery
  • Electrical plant
  • Computers
  • Miscellaneous plant.


Boilers and Pressure plant

Under this sub- title, we will deal with:

Steam boilers, steam receivers, economizers, super heaters, steam pipes, hot water heating and supply installations, bakers’ ovens, air receivers, steam jacketed pans, clarifiers, sterilizers, vulcanizes, ironing machines, and any other pressure vessel that can explode.

Boilers vary a great deal in design, construction and according to the class of work for which they are intended. There are five classes which include:

  • Steam generating boilers
  • Low pressure hot heating heating boilers,
  • Domestic supply boilers
  • High pressure hot water boilers.



The purpose of these is to raise temperature of the feed water before entering the boilers, and the arrangement is such that the gases from the boiler pass around the tubes of the economizer in their way to chimney.


Super heaters.

These are used in connection with steam boilers to generate steam for the purpose of power.


Steam Baking Ovens.

These are mainly used for baking bread and related products. The oven chambers are heated by series of sealed tubes which may be straight, bent or looped, containing a small quantity of water. The tubes work under very high pressure and temperature


Clarifiers are vessels containing an inner coil or series of tubes. They are used for supplying hot water for domestic purposes or space heating.


Ironing Machines.

Ironing machines are used in laundries for finishing off such things as sheets and various types of clothes.


Steam Jacketed Pans.

 These are used for heating and cooking various substances. They are vessels which have a surrounding jacket with steam being passed between the two to heat the contents of the inner pan


Steam and Feed Piping

These convey steam from various vessels or machines where it is to be used after it generated in the boiler.


Air Receivers

 The main use of air receivers is to store compressed air and they are usually cylindrical in shape. The purpose is to supply hot air at a pressure for starting internal combustion engines and operating pneumatic (large powerful tools worked by air pressure which is used for breaking up hard materials).



 These are oval or circular vessels through which steam is passed for the purpose of disinfecting beddings, clothing and other items

All plants in this category operates under some degree of pressure and are therefore subject to the risk of explosion or collapse. Cover is provided against risk of explosion, collapse and breakdown. The following defects do not constitute explosion or collapse;

  • Wearing away or wasting of materials of plant breakage, corrosion, action of fuel
  • Cracking, fractures, blisters, laminations or flaws when accompanied by leakage….
  • Failure of joints
  • Gradually developing deformation or distortion of any part of the plant.


The standard boiler explosion can be extended to cover;

  • Joint leakage
  • Overheating of tubes
  • Flue gas explosion
  • Cracking of ironing machines
  • Cracking of weld failure
  • Damage by extraneous causes
  • Overheating of boilers and fired pressure vessels.



Engine Plant.

The insurance covering engine plants insures all types of machinery, plant, mechanical equipment and apparatus, steam engines, gas and oil engines, air compressors, pumps, hydro-extractors, gas producer plants used for driving machines, etc., against the risk of breakdown.

The machinery breakdown is basically an ‘all risk’ insurance policy which is issued to cover unforeseen and sudden physical loss or damage to the insured items necessitating their repair or replacement. Some of the main causes of such breakdown are;

  • Careless operation or poor maintenance of engines that may to parts getting loose and parts that are not allowed to become worn may break and fall from positions.
  • The use of steam carrying minute particles and impunities can cause seizure of piston valves and sometimes the pistons themselves.
  • Speeding the failure of the governor and unsatisfactorily operations may cause failure of the moving parts through stress.
  • Water allowing to get into cylinders from improperly drained steam pipes, condensing systems and exhaust pipes.
  • Engine set on a weak or faulty foundation or faulty designed engine
  • Engine used to drive loads heavier than its capacity would justify
  • Excessive wear in bearing which can cause distortion or breakage of the crack shaft.


The policy may be extended by endorsement to cover such additional risks as damage to bearing by breakage or overheating, damage or miner parts which are excluded under the normal scope of policies and damage to the plant by extraneous causes.


Types of Covers.

The Steam Engine Policy Cover.

This provides cover against inspection services and indemnity against sudden and unforeseen mechanical breakdown.


The Gas and Oil Engine Policy Covers.

This provides for cover:

  • Inspection services
  • Indemnity against sudden and unforeseen mechanical breakdown
  • Indemnity against damage to own or third party proper caused by flying fragments of the insured machine.


The Diesel Engine

This provides similar cover to the above but with additional provisions that the air compressor which is used to supply blast air for the injection of fuel is treated as an integral part of the engine and is included in the insurance. Similarly, air receivers used for storing compressed air for starting purposes and blast air bottles are included in the indemnity of the engine cover against damage to the insured’s and third party cover.


Lifting and Handling Machinery

 The policy will cover lifting machinery such as mobile or static or overhead cranes, fork lift tracks, passengers, goods lifts, hook hoists, motor vehicle service tables, excavators and other types of lifting appliances in respect of the type of motive power whether electric, steam, hydraulic internal combustion or manual. These require compulsory inspection.

The main risks are;

  • Mechanical and electrical breakdown
  • Topple over due to overloading and errors in inspection
  • Damage to surrounding properties of the owner or third parties
  • Injuries to employees or third parties
  • Damage to goods being lifted.


The Crane Policy

This provides cover for the following;

  • Periodic inspection
  • Indemnity against mechanical breakdown
  • Damage by extraneous causes.


The Lift policy

Cover under the lift policy is similar to above but omits damage by extraneous causes because this risk does not occur so much with lifts as it does with cranes. Both policies can be extended to cover additional risks as damage to to goods being lifted and damage to own properties.


Electrical Plant

 The cover provides for;

  • Breakdown and failure of mechanical components like bearing and terminal box due to over voltage, over current, high temperatures, and lack of ventilation.
  • Failure of mechanical component can occur due to lack of lubrication, vibration short circuiting, faulty design, careless in operation, sabotage, entry of foreign objects etc.
  • Breakdown of transformers which are normally oil oriented.
  • Cables and switches overheating and insulation failure.

The usual cover indemnifies the insured up to a specified sum against mechanical or electrical breakdown. The policy can be extended by endorsement to include such additional risks such as;

  • Damage to bearing by breakage or overheating
  • Damage by extraneous causes
  • Loss of transformer oil by reason of breakdown




Computers are now widely used in commerce and industry in controlling simple administrative tasks to complete manufacturing process.

Electronic equipment policy is an All Risks policy with cover applying to any unforeseen and sudden physical loss or damage from any causes other than those specifically excluded, in a manner necessitating repair or replacement. The cover includes electrical and mechanical breakdown of the insured items. (except loss or damage for which manufacturers are responsible under their contract, impact damage and also carelessness, theft and burglary. The policy also covers fire and also other special perils.

 Cover can be extended to include,

Accidental or malicious erasure, destruction, distortion, or corruption of data.

The extension does not include the the value of any data that is lost, destroyed or damaged. However, only the cost of raw materials and labour involved in rewriting and reinstating of data is covered.

The policy does not cover the following;

  • Loss or damage caused by failure or interruption of any gas, water or electricity supply.
  • Loss or damage due to wear, tear and depreciation
  • Loss or damage caused by any faults or defects existing at the time of commencements of insurance.
  • Loss or damage for which the manufacturers or suppliers are responsible by low or under the contract.
  • Willful acts or willful negligence on the part of the insured or their representatives
  • Consequential loss with the exception of additional expenses for computer operation


Miscellaneous plant

Insurers grant cover for a wide range of mechanical or electrical plant, some of which may of highly specialized nature and fall only partly under one of the above categories. Among these are steam turbines, or hydro- electric sets where the cover would indemnify the insured against damage to the hydro-set and damage to other property of the insured and liability of the insured to other property of the insured for the damage to property not belonging to them due to disruption or breakdown of the   turbo-set while in the cause of ordinary working or while any part is subject to steam or water pressure.


Another is refrigeration and air conditioning plant used for cooling or storage of chambers, reducing temperature in building or in materials being processed. The cover provided would indemnify the insured against the damage to the plant and direct damage to any other property of the insured caused by and solely due to breakdown. It also indemnifies against unforeseen damage and / or breakdown.

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