By Rosemary Onuoha
THE Nigerian Insurers Association, NIA, has launched an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data, USSD, code to check proliferation of fake insurance certificates in the country. The USSD code, *565*11#, according to the NIA will assist to eliminate fake insurance certificates in the market.
Chairman of NIA, Mr. Tope Smart, during the official launch in Lagos last week said the move represents another giant step towards bringing insurance closer to the people.
Explaining how it works, Smart said, “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 smartphone) would communicate with the Nigeria Insurance Industry Database, 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.
“Recall that in 2010 the Association took a major step towards eliminating fake insurance certificates in the market through the inception of the NIID. 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.”
“Prior to the establishment of the platform, cloning and faking of insurance certificates was a thriving business but the establishment of the database has assisted the industry in reducing the incidents of fake insurance certificates in the market. Till date, there are over three million vehicle details on the platform.
“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,” Smart stated.