‘Eight million motorists parade invalid papers’
Of the 16 million registered vehicles plying Nigerian roads, about eight million have genuine motor insurance certificates captured by the Nigerian Insurance Industry Database (NIID), while the remaining eight million have not been validated.
This was affirmed by the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) at its Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Lagos, according to the Acting Director-General NIA, Lawunmi Idowu.
She said the NIID has operated hitch-free consistently for the last 12 months, adding that the system has effectively changed the face of insurance business in Nigeria, as incidences of fake motor insurance certificates have drastically reduced.
Idowu noted that the system features are constantly being enhanced to meet users’ requirements and expectations, stressing that in the period under review, additional features included uploading short term policies; SMS alert of claims upload; mobile app of ask NIID, and enhanced reporting facility.
She said the marine module is being populated by member companies pending its full utilisation by relevant agencies, adding that in the coming years, the NIA expects the NIID platform will be fully integrated with all government agencies portals for real-time verification. It will thereby become an indispensable tool in carrying out their statutory functions and process.
The Chairman of the NIA, Eddie Efekoha, expressed the Association’s desire to extend the NIID coverage to other states of the federation, despite network coverage and Internet connectivity challenges, as it is taking steps to resolve the issue through the deployment of Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code.
He noted that the marine module has been running and member companies are daily uploading on the platform, adding that at the end of May 2017, about 33 member-companies have uploaded 65,000 marine policies.
He urged members to continue to upload their marine policies, stressing that plans are underway to bring other stakeholders into the scheme.
Industry experts, who spoke to The Guardian on the development, noted that if vehicle owners did not buy third party motor insurance from any of the general business insurance companies registered and licensed by the National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), it is possible that they bought fake policies.
Before the introduction of the NIID, NAICOM collaborated with the Nigeria Police to raid the offices of fake insurance papers.
The association has continued to distribute the NIID mobile devices to law enforcement agencies in different states of the federation, to enable them confirm the genuineness of the insurance certificates in the possession of motorists.
Last year, the NIA presented some of the devices to the Lagos State Ministry of Transport, and also promised to facilitate a training programme for Vehicle Inspection Officers in the state.
Section 68 of the Insurance Act 2003, states: “No person shall use or cause or permit any other person to use a motor vehicle on a road unless a liability, which he may thereby incur in respect of damage to the property of third parties, is insured with an insurer registered under this Act.”
The law states that the insurance shall cover liability of not less than N1million, and that a person who contravenes the provisions of this section commits an offence and will be liable on conviction to a fine of N250,000 or imprisonment for one year.
Thus, vehicle licensing offices are not insurance companies’ offices, and touts are there to sell fake documents to deny motorists the right to make claims when there is liability, said the experts.
Motorists are therefore advised to personally go to a registered insurance company to buy their genuine motor third party insurance, and benefit from compensations for third party damages in the event of accident, rather than sending surrogates.
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