23 March 2016

Nigeria: NAICOM to Issue Identification Numbers to Insurance Policy Buyers

The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has said that all insurance policies issued in Nigeria will be assigned identification numbers, with effect from June this year.

The commission said this would be made possible through its much awaited portal system, which will be in use from June.

The portal system is an electronic gadget designed for effective supervision and monitoring the activities of industry operators.

The Director, Research Strategy and Information Technology at the NAICOM, Adamu Balanti, who disclosed this at a media briefing in Ogun State, said with the portal system, the commission will not only achieve effective monitoring and supervision of the operating firms' activities, but will showcase to Nigerians every insurance policy written and the names of companies that insured them.

Ballanti said currently, the commission, is sensitising the industry on the use of the portal.

"Before June, we will roll out the portal and when operational, it will capture every single insurance policy issued in Nigeria to ensure that every policy you pick has identification number to be issued by NAICOM", he said.

It is expected that the unique policy identification system of the commission will solve problem of identifying the particular insurance firm that insured a particular business especially when there is risk and need for payment of claims.

The practice over the years is that when there is insurance policy contract, only the insurance firm that issued the policy, the broker and the insured will be aware of the underwriter and when claims occur, the underwriter is hidden from the public and in some cases and the underwriter hardly admits that he was in charge of the policy.

Against this backdrop, NAICOM has in the past few years made known its intension to make use of the portal system in its supervisory functions, a development, which has set some operators jittery even before the commencement of use of the system.

"NAICOM is moving closer and closer to us in its supervisory functions, anything you do, within the next one hour, you will receive a call from the commission, when the portal system comes on board, Who knows what the whole picture will look like, operating firms will just be caught in the act in any mistake they make," he said.

According to Balanti, the system will reduce to the barest minimum the prevalence of improper records regarding policies issued, adding that with the system, NAICOM will be able to track the number of insurance policies issued by underwriters.

He said: "This system is to build an integration point for the various stakeholders involved in insurance policy issuance. Generate and provide a unique identification number for every policy issued, in order to track and provide relevant statistics on them", he said.

He also said the porter, would help develop a capacity in NAICOM to record all policies issued by Nigeria insurance firms, ensure proper accountability of all premium returns by insurance companies, capture all businesses done by every broker through the underwriter, ensure proper accountability of all insurance levies received from brokers provide easy access to data regarding policies issued and support analysis and policy based decision making."

Balanti said the portal provides a single point of access for all NAICOM services, validate the authenticity of insurance policies and accessible from any location within Nigeria. He added that the system should be able to interact or communicate with other systems/users such as FRSC, Police.

"We want to identify each individual insurance policy issued in the country; this is why we are developing, what we called - Unique Policy Identifier (UPI). With it, each insurance policy document issued in the country will have a unique identification number. The Unique number will be used to identify that document.

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