Stories by ROSEMARY ONUOHA
Lack of government support and low awareness are some of the challenges currently plaguing the performance and success of the Nigerian Insurance Industry Database, NIID, of the Nigerian Insurers Association, NIA.
Head of NIID, Mrs. Bola Omole who disclosed this to journalists in a recent chat said that though there has been a remarkable improvement in the number of vehicles uploaded on the NIID platform from 300,000 in 2011 to 1.65 million vehicle insurance policies in
2013, lack of adequate awareness about the project has also contributed to the low performance, adding that most vehicle owners are not aware of the existence of NIID.
She explained that since the deploying of 25 gadgets to Ogun State for verification, there has been high patronage of genuine motor insurance policy by the general public.
She however identified lack of Government buy in, lack of enforcement and low awareness as some of the challenges confronting the performance of the NIID project.
Meanwhile the NIA has said that its major target in the new business year is to block the leakages in the ports under marine insurance through the use of the Database.
The NIA said in addition to capturing remaining states to key into the NIID in the purchase of third party motor insurance, it will ensure that the model is extended to the ports to block the existing leakages there due to activities of illegal insurance operators at the ports.
Director General of NIA, Mr. Sunday Thomas said the ports are another means through which insurers’ loss huge premium in addition to motor insurance.
It will be recalled that recent media reports said that insurers allegedly lost N46 billion yearly to fake documentations at the ports.
Worried by this, insurance operators recently took the issue to the door steps of the National Assembly.
Specifically, the Legal Committee (LC), a technical arm of the NIA in a review of the presentation to the Senate Committee on Marine Transport on the problems confronting marine insurance in Nigeria, said the committee should expedite action on the process of computerising the authentication of marine insurance certificates.
Besides, the insurers pointed out that the insecurity problems in Nigeria and multiple checks carried out at the ports have forced the Joint War Committee of Lloyds and London underwriters to include Nigeria as one of the most expensive countries/trading zones, where vessels could only come on the payment of additional premium for war risk cover.
The Chairman of the Legal Committee, Samuel Oduroye, in the review of the Customs and Excise Management Bill – June 2012 to May 2013, said “The process of computerising the authentication of marine insurance certificates should be expedited as the estimated N46 billion being lost through fake documents is substantial to warrant urgent action to prevent these leakages”.
According to him, “Provision should be made for electronic invoices that will be issued to customs, importers and insurers to reduce the incidence of under-declaration in the systems and allow for easy monitoring by concerned stakeholders.”
Oduroye stressed that the country should also adopt the electronic tracking system for vessels plying its waters for a more effective monitoring of their movements.