Troubled firms compound Insurers woes at vehicle licencing offices

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Chuks Udo Okonta

Most troubled insurance firms have found succour at vehicle licencing offices due to inability of reputable underwriters to establish their presence at such locations.

The presence of these troubled insurance firms at the licencing offices where most Nigerians get their motor policies, has compounded insurance industry’s woes as they often abscond whenever policyholders suffer risks and seek claims.

An investigation by Inspenonline revealed that the weak firms flood the licencing offices with their policies as the strong firms have over the years abandoned business at such locations to fake paper racketeers.

A Licencing Executive, who does not want to be named, told Inspenonline that they don’t sell policies of reputable Insurance firms because they are not made available to them.

“We only sell what is made available to us. These companies you mentioned don’t make their policies available to us for sale. We only sell policies brought by insurance agents. We will sell the ones you mentioned if they are made available to us,” she said.

Speaking with an executive of one of the reputable Insurance firms on the development, she said her company is finalising plans to have their desks at the licencing offices.

She noted that members of staff of the company have over the years interacted with officers at the licencing offices, but that the firm is going behold just interactions to having full presence at such locations.

Insurance operators it was learnt generated N418.76 billion from motor business underwriting in 10 years.

According to data obtained from the Nigerian Insurers Association (NIA) the operators generated the fund between 2010 and 2019.

The NIA stated that the operators posted N42.04 billion from motor business in 2010; N44.65 billion in 2011; N44.81 billion in 2012; N39.85 billion in 2013; N42.91 billion in 2014 and N39.84 billion in 2015.

The umbrella body of insurers in Nigeria, posited that N40.39 billion was generated in 2016; N39.29 billion in 2017; N40.07 billion in 2018 and N44.91 billion in 2019.

Over the years insurance operators and concerned stakeholders have being working assiduously to ensure all vehicles are properly insured, which will also boost premium generation.

The government in its wisdom made it mandatory for all vehicles to have a minimum of third-party motor insurance certificates, in spite this noble initiative, the number of vehicles with fake certificates on Nigerian roads has continued soar as it is said to have recently hit 9.04 million.

According to the NIA only 2.72 million vehicles on Nigerian roads had valid insurance covers as of February.

Also, the data from the National Bureau of Statistics estimated Nigeria’s vehicle population at 11.76 million.

The NIA had in February 2016 disclosed that about 4.3 million vehicles had been registered on its Nigerian Insurance Industry Data.

In January 2019, the association revealed that just over three million vehicles were still on its NIID, which showed an increasing number of fake certificates on Nigerian roads.

The objectives of the NIID are to provide qualitative statistics/analysis of the industry data as a vehicle for easy verification of genuine insurance certificates by all stakeholders.

It also seeks to reduce incidents of fraudulent insurance transactions, especially for vehicles.

The platform was enhanced to include information to help recover stolen vehicles and claims reporting modules.

The Insurance Act 2003 mandates all motorists to have a minimum of third party motor insurance policy in place.

Section 68 of the 2003 Insurance Act says, “No person shall use or cause or permit any other person to use a motor vehicle on a road unless a liability which he may thereby incur in respect of damage to the property of third parties is insured with an insurer registered under this Act.”

It further explains that the insurance of this section covers liability of not less than N1 million.

According to the Act, a person who contravenes the provisions of this section commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine of N250,000 or imprisonment for one year or both.

In spite the fact that the statutory laws of the country stipulate that no motorist should move on Nigerian roads without being in possession of genuine insurance certificates, most motorists have continued to show absolute disregard for this statutory requirement.

Determined to raise motor insurance premium, the NIA in October 2019, launched a campaign tagged, Wetin You Carry? Which was aimed to educate motorists on the need to secure their vehicles with genuine insurance policies.

The Director-General of the NIA, Mrs. Yetunde Ilori noted that the association desires to put the slogan, Wetin you carry? on the lips of everybody, adding that the slogan is not meant to extort something from people, but to enquire from them whether they are carrying genuine policies or fake.

Mrs. Ilori maintained that the campaign was not geared towards enforcement, but to let people understand that they can have genuine policies that could give them rest of mind in times of incidence.
She noted that the NIID remains one of the best ways to curb fake motor insurance policy, adding that to help vehicle owners to easily verify the genuineness of their policies, the insurance industry introduced the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) code *565*11#.

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