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NIA to sanction defaulters of NIID motor policy

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Sanctions await underwriting companies that fail to upload sold motor policies on the Nigerian Insurance Industry Database (NIID), that would allow policyholders to authenticate their policy, Nigerian Insurer Association (NIA) has warned.
   
The NIID is an information technology-based system that facilitates easy collation and dissemination of statistical and other information relating to insurance.
 
It also serves as a platform for easy identification of genuine insurance documents by relevant authorised persons.

   
The platform provides protection to Nigerians against the activities of fraudsters, particularly the third party motor insurance certificate racketeers.

Also, the NIID is connected to the database of the Vehicle Inspection Service (VIS), for easy identification of valid insurance certificates.
 
Indeed, defaulters currently pay a fine N20,000 on behalf of motorists caught by the digital camera installed by the Lagos State VIS.
 
Findings by The Guardian show that many insurance companies have already been charged by the Lagos VIS, and compelled to pay the prescribed sum for failing to upload the policies sold within 24 hours, as required by law.
   
The Director-General, Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA), Mrs. Yetunde Ilori, at a media parley in Lagos, recently, said the group has been going round to the member companies to stress the need for operators to upload their sold motor policies on the NIID platform.
 
She argued that the NIID remains one of the best ways to curb fake motor insurance policy, adding that to assist motorists to easily verify the genuineness of their policies, the industry introduced the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code *565*11#.

   
According to her, awareness on the use of USSD code is really gaining more ground, as people now rely on it to settle policy issues.
 
Chairman of the NIA, Tope Smart, added that the code would help bring insurance closer to the people, and ultimately eliminate fake insurance certificates in the market, especially in motor and marine services.
 
He posited that in 2010, the Association took a major step towards eliminating fake insurance certificates in the market through the inception of the Nigerian Insurance Industry Database (NIID), stressing that the database went live in 2011, and insurance policies obtained by motorists could be checked real time online on the Internet and through dedicated hand held devices. 
   
He said the objective of the NIID is to serve as an authentic database of the Nigerian insurance industry, which provides qualitative statistics/analysis.
   
Smart posited that the industry has continued to reap the benefits of the scheme, adding that prior to the establishment of the platform, cloning and faking of insurance certificates was a thriving business, but the establishment of the database has helped reduce the incidence, and now has over three million vehicle details on the platform. 
   
Furthermore, he said the platform has been enhanced to include stolen vehicles and claims reporting modules in response to the challenges thrown up by actions of suspected fraudsters that made multiple claims with the intent to defraud the industry over the last few years.
   
“The NIID platform had been operational nationwide, but with challenges in verification in areas with poor internet coverage. Verification of motor certificates through the dedicated devices became highly impaired due to the vicissitudes of internet operations in the hinterlands. This led to the introduction of the USSD technology.  
     
“The USSD is a Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) technology used to send text between a mobile phone and an application programme in the network.
 
“It works independent of internet connectivity. In this instance, any mobile phone (not necessarily a smart phone) would communicate with the NIID system to retrieve policy status whenever required.
 “It is hoped that with the USSD, we would have fully overcome the problems associated with the dedicated devices as it guarantees uninterrupted service throughout the country and on all networks.
 
“Our existing and prospective customers now have the opportunity to confirm the genuineness of their respective policies at the time of purchase to avoid any embarrassment should claim occur,” he said.


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