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75% of port insurance papers, fake — NIA

By on September 22, 2014

About 75 per cent of insurance certificates obtained by importers in the maritime sector are fake, the Director-General, Nigerian Insurers Association, Mr. Sunday Thomas, has said.

He told SUNDAY PUNCH on Thursday that this was the outcome of the group’s recent study.

He said the NIA had thus resolved to work with relevant stakeholders to stop the menace.

Thomas said the association would introduce an electronic registration system to the marine sector by the end of this month.

“I am not even sure we are getting up to 25 per cent premium of what we should be getting from the marine sector if we relate it to the value of goods that are being imported; we have an estimated figure of 75 per cent leakage in that sector,” he said.

The NIA boss, who noted that insurance was part of the requirements by importers at the seaport, lamented that touts had been spreading fake insurance certificates in the industry.

Thomas, however, noted the electronic system, known as Nigerian Insurance Industry Database, would henceforth help the customs to verify authentic certificates.

According to him, the NIID earlier introduced to curb fake motor insurance documents now provides information about vehicles available on Nigerian roads, as well as helps in verifying fake certificates.

Presently, he added that policyholders whose vehicle insurance details had been uploaded on the NIID could check their motor insurance policy status on its website.

The NIID, which he described as a joint initiative of all insurance firms under the NIA, had been repackaged and restructured for the marine sector.

“What we are doing right now is we are test running it; by the end of this month, we want to fully deploy it for the first three months and see the performance and the value added to the system,” he said.

According to Thomas, stakeholders that will work with the association to achieve the set objectives are banks, the Nigeria Customs Service, clearing agents, and importers.

He said that the association would sensitise them and create the necessary awareness for the NIID.

The NIA boss explained that if an importer borrowed from the bank and used fake paper for the purpose of getting clearance and something happened, to repay the loan could be difficult.

With genuine insurance in place, he said the interest of the lender would be fully secured and the importer could continue with the business when claims were settled.

With the introduction of the NIID, he said, “The customs can no longer be deceived because they can verify from their desk exactly what is required of their duties. With this, all stakeholders will benefit and it will enable insurers to take accurate statistics of all imported goods.”

He said the NIID would help to stamp out the menace of fake insurance in the country, while also providing information on the details of vehicles on the road and genuine importations via the seaports.