Association sets to flush out fake insurance documents at seaports

The Nigerian Insurers Association, in partnership with law enforcement agencies, is set to flush out fake insurance certificate vendors at the seaports through the introduction of the Nigerian Insurers Industry Database this month.

The Director-General, NIA, Sunday Thomas, who disclosed this in an interview, said the proliferation of fake insurance papers at the ports had prevented stakeholders from enjoying the benefits of having genuine insurance.

He noted that lots of importers were getting ordinary papers as evidence that they had complied with regulatory requirements.

According to him, the association has been working with relevant law enforcement agencies to introduce the database so as to end the era of fake operators in the sector.

“We have introduced the NIID and it is already running; people are already uploading right now free of charge but will soon start to pay for the upload,” Thomas said.

He added that the operators involved in the verification process were trying to recruit those who would enforce the new initiative and also ensure that there was increased awareness on how stakeholders could verify the authenticity of their certificates through the NIID.

“We have been talking to people; the Nigeria Customs, Nigerian Council of Registered Insurance Brokers and the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, to let them know and ask all the banks to key into it so they can verify any marine policy by insurance companies,” he said.

Thomas said the stakeholders included the banks, the Nigeria Customs Service, the clearing agents, and the importers.

According to him, if an importer borrows from the bank and uses fake paper for the purpose of getting clearance and something happens, the repayment of the claims will be difficult.

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

With the introduction of the NIID, Thomas said Customs officers could no longer be deceived because they could verify from their desks exactly what their duties would be, adding that this would enable all stakeholders to benefit, while the insurers would be able to take accurate statistics of all imported goods.

He said the NIID would help to stamp out the menace of fake marine insurance operators in the country, while also providing information on the details of importations at Nigerian ports.

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