|Mr. Sunday Thomas
Director General, NIA
The Nigerian Insurers Association, in partnership with law enforcement agencies, is set to flush out fake insurance certificate vendors at the seaports through the introduction of the Nigerian Insurers Industry Database this month.
The Director-General, NIA, Mr. Sunday Thomas, who disclosed this to our correspondent in an exclusive interview, said the proliferation of fake insurance papers at the ports had prevented stakeholders from enjoying the benefits of having genuine insurance.
He noted that lots of importers were getting ordinary papers as evidence that they had complied with regulatory requirements.
According to him, the association has been working with relevant law enforcement agencies to introduce the database so as to end the era of fake operators in the sector.
“We have introduced the NIID and it is already running; people are already uploading right now free of charge but will soon start to pay for the upload,” Thomas said.
He added that the operators involved in the verification process were trying to recruit those who would enforce the new initiative and also ensure that there was increased awareness on how stakeholders could verify the authenticity of their certificates through the NIID.
“We have been talking to people; the Nigerian Customs, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, to let them know and ask all the banks to key into it so they can verify any marine policy by insurance companies,” he said.
Thomas said the stakeholders included the banks, the Nigerian Customs Service, the clearing agents, and the importers.
According to him, if an importer borrows from the bank and uses fake paper for the purpose of getting clearance and something happens, the repayment of the claims will be difficult.
With genuine insurance in place, he said the interest of the lender would be fully protected and the importer would be able to continue with business when claims were settled.
With the introduction of the NIID, Thomas said Customs officers could no longer be deceived because they could verify from their desks exactly what their duties would be, adding that this would enable all stakeholders to benefit, while the insurers would be able to take accurate statistics of all imported goods.
He said the NIID would help to stamp out the menace of fake marine insurance operators in the country, while also providing information on the details of importations at Nigerian ports.
The NIA had earlier introduced the NIID to control fake motor insurance certificates. With its collaboration with the Federal Road Safety Corps, the association said it had been growing its database of vehicles in the country.
The association said it had distributed mobile phones to law enforcement agents in different states of the federation to help in their verification of insurance certificates during their normal inspections on the road.
To verify the status of a motor insurance certificate, a motorist can text his policy number and registration number to codes specified by the NIID and get the feedback in seconds, or make online verification.