By VICTOR NZE
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has inaugurated a Technical Committee that would drive the enforcement of public building insurance in the country.
The committee was inaugurated by the NAICOM’s Commissioner for Insurance, Mr Mohammed Kari, in Abuja, last Tuesday.
The technical committee is made up of representatives of NAICOM, the Federal Fire Service (FFS) from all the zones and the Nigeria Insurance Association (NIA).
The steering committee on the other hand is made up of the Commissioner for Insurance, the Controller-General of the Federal Fire Service and the Director-General of the NIA.
While the consumers are represented by the FFS, the NIA will supply the funds and NAICOM will be responsible for the disbursement of the funds.
Kari said that it was the responsibility of the committee to advise the steering committee on how public building funds would be effectively and efficiently be disbursed in the country.
Kari was represented by the Deputy Commissioner for Insurance, Technical, Mr Thomas Sunday.
He said that NAICOM, under the National Insurance Act 2003 had the responsibility of ensuring that public buildings and buildings under construction were insured.
“We have the responsibility for collecting of funds, monitoring and also disbursing the funds for the purpose of improving fire activities in Nigeria.
“0.25 per cent of premium collected with respect to public buildings are supposed to be accumulated in the fire funds. But over time, these funds have not been forthcoming because the process for collection are not put in place.
“Therefore, the NAICOM in the spirit of transparency and all inclusive administration has decided to bring in those who know more about fire service into this activity,’’ he said.
The commissioner said that fire service activities were abysmal in many states of the federation, which was not supposed to be so.
On disbursement, Kari explained that the steering committee planned on disbursing the funds for the purpose of training of staff of the fire service both at the federal and state levels.
He said that a portion of the funds would be used to upgrade the activities of the academy of the federal fire service and refurbish/repair fire-fighting trucks and equipment.
He said that some of the funds would be used for the purchase of vehicles for inspection, investigation and also for the purpose of publicity.
The commissioner said that about N78 million had already been accumulated in the funds, adding that a template had been given to the market that would ensure proper enforcement for collection of more funds.
“The amount has a potential of multiplying itself and unlike what we had, we have set a template by which this collection will be appropriately and adequately remitted into the commission.
“But whatever we get in the collection is dependent on adequate enforcement of all the buildings that need to be insured.
“By public buildings, we mean all schools, hospitals, hotels and offices and they have the responsibility to show evidence that they have complied with section 65 of the Insurance Act 2003,’’ he said.
The commissioner called on the committee and all stakeholders involved to collaborate, create the necessary awareness so that the required result would be achieved.
He said that if this was done, it would reduce the alarming incidents of fire outbreaks and building collapse as the FSS would be adequately equipped to carry out their mandate.
Kari said that the technical committee would be chaired by the Acting Director, Authorisation and Policy, Mr Leonard Akah.
The Controller of Fire Service, represented by the Commandant, National Fire Service Academy, Mr Callistus Agu, said that the N78 million accumulated in the fund was a far cry to what the FSS required.
Agu expressed the desire and commitment of the FSS to move fire service activities in the country forward.
According to him, there is a huge gap between the Federal Fire Service and the State Fire Service which is not supposed to be so.
He said that it was important for the FSS to be strengthened both at the federal state and local government levels to ensure economic development of the country.
Agu called on the government to look into the premium assigned to the fire service as it was not enough to meet the demands of the service.
The Director-General, NIA, represented by the Head, Property and Risk Survey, Goldlink Insurance, Mr Oni Soji, said the association was ready to partner with all stakeholders to drive the enforcement.
He said that the enforcement would help the association generate more funds and grow premiums that would enable it to pay claims.
Soji urged the FSS to come up with a central data which would help the association in doing proper planning.