By Clement Nwoji
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM), Nigeria Insurers Association (NIA), and Federal Fire Services (FFS), on Tuesday, agreed to embark on the enforcement of insurance of public buildings nationwide, and to sanction the owners of any such classified buildings without proof of insurance coverage.
They resolved that henceforth, insurance companies should clarify in their returns the premium they make in insurances of public building in line with the provisions of the Section 65 (4) of the insurance Act 2003. This provides that the insurance companies would support the Fire Service with part of the premium paid to fire underwriters for protection against fire disaster
The Commissioner for Insurance, Mohammed Kari, who announced the effective commencement of enforcing the insurance of public buildings, said henceforth, the implementation would be enforced by the Fire Services, which is empowered to demand from any public building owner the proof of fire insurance coverage.
He said with effect from date, sensitisation would be carried out to ensure that nobody is left in doubt of which building or premise is classified as public building. “Failure to respect the law will be dealt with severe consequences by the enforcement agencies, which will be in this case, the fire services,” Kari said.
On his part, the Comptroller General, Federal Fire Service, Anebi Joseph Garba, noted that fire had caused a lot of havoc nationwide, adding that most of the edifices affected by fire disaster had no fire insurance covers.
He cited that Section 48 and 89 of the National Fire Code, which empowers the Fire Service to carry out risk assessment of any public building and to demand for insurance certificate.
Garba expressed optimism that if this coverage is implemented, there would be more funds coming into the insurance sector. However, he regretted that in some states, the FFS lacked logistics such as utility vehicles, to move around to inspect buildings and enforce insurance coverage.
The Chairman, NIA, Eddie Efekoya, said the development marked a milestone as far as protection against fire disaster was concerned. While noting that it had taken almost 14 years before the implementation of Section 65 (4) of the Insurance Act 2003, he said the association supports the implementation being championed by the NAICOM.
He said: “Insurance can compensate materially but really cannot compensate the trauma we all get from it,” adding that the waste in terms of the money spent for compensation or reconstructing the destroyed building would have been channelled to other profitable ventures.
He assured that once the template for the implementation is ready, the Association would contribute its quota to ensure its success.