The umbrella body for risks underwriting companies in the country, the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), has said it would deploy the Nigerian Insurance Industry Database (NIID) to check the increasing rate of fake marine insurance in the industry.
According to the association, the NIID marine insurance module would be ready by the end of the second quarter of next year while awareness programme on the database would commence immediately.
NIID is an electronic platform established by the NIA to serve as a vehicle for easy identification of genuine insurance documents by relevant authorised persons, monitor insurance transactions and reduce fraud in insurance transactions.
It is currently being deployed to capture all the third party motor insurance transactions in the country with a view to extending it to other types of compulsory insurances in due course.
The Director General of the association, Mr. Sunday Thomas, made this known at the recent 2013 Annual Training for Journalists organised by his organisation at Ijebu Ode, Ogun State. He said the NIID marine insurance module was designed to eliminate fake marine insurance certificates in circulation across the country.
“Marine module should be ready before the second quarter. We have engaged a Programmer resuming January 1, 2014. If they are able to conclude work on the module, the banks would have to reach individual companies to get details of their marine insurance business.
“Rather, the banks would link up to the NIID marine insurance module to get such details. When it is ready, we will increase awareness on this,” Thomas said.
The NIA boss applauded the NIID motor insurance module that has been in existence in the last three years, saying the success achieved this far has spurred the association to move on to the second phase of the programme, which is marine insurance module.
Thomas said the association was collaborating with security agencies such as the Vehicle Inspection Officers (VIO), Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC) and the police to ensure the successful implementation of the motor insurance module across the country.
Throwing more light on the database, Thomas said “NIID is not an alternative to motor insurance certificate because the law requires that drivers must carry your certificate. What the NIID provides is a verification that actually, what you are holding is what the law requires/ because the law requires that it is only registered insurance companies in Nigeria who can issue you with a valid motor insurance certificate.”
The association has also assured stakeholders that the database would facilitate easy collation and dissemination of statistical date of all insurance companies and serve as a vehicle for easy identification of genuine insurance documents by relevant authorised persons.
Meanwhile, the Head of Information Technology department of the NIA, who oversees the NIID project, Mrs. Bola Omole, said the database currently holds as much as details on 1.65 million vehicle insured by the 42 insurance companies underwriting motor business in the country as at November 2013, up from 1.5 as at April this year.
She noted that since the deployment of 25 verification gadgets to the Ogun State VIO, there has been an increase in patronage of genuine insurance by the general public.
According to her, lack of government buy in, lack of the zeal to enforce and low awareness were some of the challenges facing the NIID project. She urged government at all levels to enforce the compulsory motor insurance law saying “it is the duty of the government to enforce laws.”
NIA embarked on the NIID project in the last quarter of 2010, saying it would develop and implement a centralised database system, which would be a repository of all insurance policies written by its member-companies.
In addition, the project is expected to support the production of insurance certificates, initially for motor and marine insurances, that are verifiable and traceable at the point of issuance and also at any other point during its life cycle.
It was also meant to serve as a platform for the verification of insurance certificates issued or presented as evidence of insurance for motor and marine covers at the first instance and then other classes of insurance by law enforcement agents.
It is expected that the database would also go a long way to assist qualitative analysis of industry performance and serve as source of historical data for benchmarking and enable the financial information of NIA member-companies to be rendered electronically for ease of analysis.