By Rosemary Onuoha
Some insurance firms have been flouting the Nigerian Insurance Industry Database, NIID, data upload requirement thereby exposing vehicle owners to harassment from officials of Vehicle Inspection Service, VIS, in Lagos.
Vanguard Insurance gathered that about 14 out of the 40 insurance companies underwriting motor insurance in the insurance sector have consistently defaulted in uploading data of their motor business on the NIID, even though it is mandatory for them to do so.
Consequently, many vehicle owners are being harassed daily by officials of VIS over inability of the VIS officials to determine validity of their insurance certificates, even when they have valid motor insurance policies.
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 insurance fraudsters, particularly the third party motor insurance certificate racketeers. Also, the NIID is connected to the database of the VIS for easy identification of valid insurance certificates.
It will be recalled that the VIS recently overhauled its processes and installed automated vehicle inspection processes which enables it to obtain information on vehicles with cameras mounted on some roads across Lagos.
With the cameras mounted on some major roads in Lagos, a capture of a vehicle plate number will display all information regarding that vehicle. Offenders are no longer apprehended on the roads but are traced to their homes as all information of a vehicle owner is on VIS database. Issuance of VIS notice of default attracts a fine of N20,000.
Unfortunately, many insurance companies are defaulting in uploading their motor business data on the NIID. Information from the Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revealed that the country has 11.7 million vehicle population as at the end of second quarter of 2018. However, the NIA revealed that only about three million vehicles are registered on the NIID.
Meanwhile, the NIA said that its target is to eradicate fake insurance in the country, as its former Chairman, Mr. Eddie Efekoha said that the target of the insurance industry is to register all vehicles that ply Nigerian roads on the platform.
A victim of VIS harassment who spoke to Vanguard Insurance on the condition of anonymity said that a VIS notice of default for failure to have valid insurance was sent to his house. According to him, even when he has presented his valid insurance certificate to the officer that brought the notice, he was told that he must pay the N20,000 because his information was not available on the NIID. When the insurance company was contacted, it confirmed that it has not uploaded the client’s data on the NIID adding that it has not been uploading for some years.
Meanwhile Chairman of NIA, Mr. Tope Smart while reacting to the development, said that they have enjoined insurance companies to promptly upload all their motor policies on the NIID platform as soon as it is purchased by policyholders, to avoid the insured being embarrassed by the law enforcement agents on the roads.