Dignitaries at the event
WELCOME ADDRESS BY CHAIRMAN OF NIGERIAN INSURERS ASSOCIATION (NIA) – MR. TOPE SMART DURING THE LAUNCH OF THE UNSTRUCTURED SUPPLEMENTARY SERVICE DATA (USSD) CODE *565*11# IN LAGOS ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 10, 2019
The Commissioner for Insurance,
Presidents of NCRIB, ILAN and other industry groups here present,
My Colleagues in the Governing Council
Chief Executive Officers of member companies
Gentlemen of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am delighted to welcome you to this auspicious occasion of the formal launch of the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) by the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA). Though this is going to be a brief ceremony, it will not in any way diminish the importance and significance of the scheme in the annals of the history of the Association as it represents yet another giant step towards bringing insurance closer to the people and ultimately eliminating fake insurance certificates in the market.
Recall that in 2010 the Association took a major step towards eliminating fake insurance certificates in the market through the inception of the Nigerian Insurance Industry Database (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. The objective of the NIID is intended to serve the following purposes.
I. As an authentic database of the Nigerian insurance industry data providing qualitative statistics/analysis of the industry data
II. As a vehicle for easy verification of genuine insurance certificates by all Stakeholders
III. To reduce incidences of fraudulent insurance transactions especially for Motor and Marine Policies.
I am indeed happy to report that the industry has continued to reap the benefits of the scheme. 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 3 (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.
The NIID platform had been operational nationwide, but with challenges in verification in areas with poor internet coverage. Verification of motor certificates through the dedicated devices became highly impaired due to the vicissitudes of internet operations in the hinterlands. This led to the introduction of the USSD technology. The USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) 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 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.
We want to thank our partners in this journey – Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc. and Courteville Business Solutions Plc. for their support and do assure them of more strategic partnerships as we develop other modules to improve insurance business in Nigeria.
The success recorded so far cannot be complete without acknowledging the co-operation and support received from the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Vehicle Inspection Services (VIS) of various States, Nigeria Police Force (NPF), National Union of Road Transport Workers (NURTW) and other stakeholders in the insurance industry.
We are optimistic that they will extend a greater level of support to the Association in our desire to eliminate fake insurance certificates and extinguish the parallel market whilst also bringing insurance services closer to the people.
I invite all of us here present to join us in this truly rewarding journey. Welcome to our world, welcome to *565*11# and welcome to the new world of insurance certificate verification.
Thank you and God bless.