Fake insurers: NAICOM bares its fangs

Favour Nnabugwu

PEDDLERS of fake insurance policies and certificates in the country have come under the search light of the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM’s task force who posed as hapless customers in Abuja, apprehending some companies in the process.

“The exercise will continue as long as we still have these people in business, we will not stop,” Fola Daniel, the Commissioner for Insurance disclosed.

The operation led to the arrest of a Vehicle Inspection Officer and six others in the illegal business.
“We arrested six illegal insurance operators and a senior VIO officer, who is a kingpin for the illegal activities, and they have been handed over to the police and soon they would be arraigned accordingly”.

The Insurance Commissioner urged Nigerians to always patronize licensed insurance companies, agents and qualified brokers whenever they want to purchase insurance policy, stressing that the insurance policy is to guard against unforeseen occurrences.

The Third Party Insurance Act actually provides that in the event of accident, victims will be compensated for bodily injury, death, medical expenses or property damage. Contravention of this provision attracts payment of a fine of N250,000 or one year imprisonment or both.

The Act also provides that, it is an offence to forge, alter, mutilate or deface any certificate of insurance; to use or allow being used by another person any forged, altered, mutilated or defaced certificate of insurance; to lend or borrow a certificate of insurance; and to make or have in one‘s possession, a fake certificate of insurance calculated to deceive.

Mr. Fola Daniel said that 90 per cent of Third Party Insurance Certificates in the country are fake.
Daniel said most of these fake Third Party Insurance covers are procured at the various licensing offices in the country. He said genuine Third Party Insurance and other insurance policies can only be bought at the offices of insurance companies.

He warned that any person who buys insurance policy from the licensing offices can be sure that he is buying a fake insurance policy. He said licensing offices are not authorized to sell insurance policies and, therefore, cannot sell insurance policies to anybody.

Daniel advised that anybody that wants to buy an insurance policy should go to the offices of any registered insurance company, accredited agents of any insurance company or an insurance broker.

He noted that the prevalence of fake Third Party Insurance certificates has made it impossible for third parties in an unfortunate incident like auto accident to be paid any claim by insurance companies.

Daniel explained that Third Party cover is usually not for the benefit of the individual that procured the cover, but for any third party like a person who is knocked down by a vehicle. While the owner of the vehicle gets nothing, the person that was knocked down can make a claim from the insurance company from which the policy was bought.

Apart from the illegal operations of the licensing offices, some travel agents are also involved in issuing fake insurance covers to travelers either deliberately or ignorantly.

The system has become so chaotic that even the insurance companies are finding it difficult to identify their own policy certificates, while the law enforcement agencies are completely incapacitated in that regard.