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Insurance consumers should investigate before taking up a cover — NIA

By Cynthia Alo

Director-General of the Nigerian Insurers Association, NIA, Mrs Yetunde Ilori, has urged the public to always do a thorough investigation on any insurance cover before purchase to avoid possessing fake insurance.

Ilori gave the charge during a press briefing in Lagos when she disclosed that the NIA is set to carry out enlightenment campaign to let members of the public know their rights and be able to differentiate between fake and genuine insurance.

According to her, the Association has begun plans to clamp down on fake insurance with the re-introduction of the USSD and an enlightenment campaign across the country.

She said: “As long as people can’t differentiate genuine from the fake, people will still buy fake. I believe that when people do personal check on what they are buying, for example, if you meet someone and they say that they are from a particular insurance company like Acen Insurance that died long ago, you should check on NIA website to verify. If Acen is not there, you can sum up the courage to tell them that they have not been uploaded there.

“With the rate of fake insurance, we have seen the need to enlighten people more.  We want everybody to know their right because when the fake can’t find anybody patronizing them, automatically the shops will close. As long as people don’t know their rights, the numbers would remain high.

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“However, it is not enough to buy something without knowing the right one. When you know that there is a fake and genuine one, you owe yourself to check for the genuine one.” She added.

She noted that NIA will continue to find sustainable means of putting a stop to fake insurance adding, “We have an ongoing campaign, we will look at what next we should do and it is going to be sustained.

“However, we cannot challenge the licensing office on fake insurance. I won’t get to the licensing office without putting things right and begin to challenge what people are doing. I think we need to get there, we will work with law enforcement agencies and the regulators and I believe it will lead to something.”

Also speaking on companies that default on claims payment, Ilori said that defaulters are called to order and most times reported to the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM, saying, “For complaints that come to us, we have been meditating and we have been getting results from companies. Sometimes we invite them for meetings and for the fact that the cases have been reported to us, we make inquiries on why the companies are not measuring up to the obligations. We have recorded instances where payment has been made.  Once we get to know about any case, we move to resolve them and for the ones that are not resolved, we go to the extent of reporting to NAICOM,” She stressed.

On the state of the industry, Ilori said: “We are not where we are supposed to be at 59 years.  The industry has witnessed a lot of evolution. This is about the third recapitalization exercise that will be taking place since then. There were a lot of things that we were not doing before but we had begun to do them. There are a lot of covers that we were not doing before. People have become more innovative, and are moving in the direction of the economic dynamics of the nation. The insurance industry has evolved as much as the nation has.”

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