By Shedrack Ifurueze
Since the nation’s economy continue to be fueled by importation, industry is losing a whooping N6 billion on a yearly basis to fake cargo insurance racketeers. They operate at seaports and major centres where shipping activities are carried out, especially in Apapa and its environs in Lagos State.
Findings show that about 300,000 cargoes, of the 1.1million cargoes berthing at the country’s seaports annually, parade fake insurance certificates. Though, there is no fixed premium for marine cargo insurance, as the price is determined by some factors, mainly the worth of the goods in a cargo. There are indications that the least valued cargo is worth N10 million, while insurer demands 02 per cent of the N10 million, thus translating to N20,000 per policy. This means, the 58 insurance companies in the country continue to lose N6 billion from non-purchase of original cargo insurance certificates by these 300,000 cargoes.
Meanwhile, some cargoes are worth N100 million or more translating to N,200,000 per policy, hence, the insurance industry could be losing more than the estimated N6 billion per annum. For years, the existence of fake marine insurance in the maritime sector is giving insurance operators sleepless night, as they keep losing billions of Naira to these fake racketeers on a yearly basis.
The current 300,000 cargoes using fake insurance representing 30 per cent of the total cargoes in the country. According to expert this experts will continue to be a source of worry, unless drastic steps are taken to address the issue.
Investigation shows that the fake insurers do issue fake marine certificates to customers at major centres where shipping activities are carried out across the country. Further findings reveal that one can get a fake Institute Cargo Clauses, ICC “C” marine insurance cover, which is the minimum marine cover for N2,500 notwithstanding the insurance value.
Another investigation has it that most of these fake certificates bear the names and logos of registered insurance companies, even though these insurers knew nothing about these dirty deal, others use fake names to cajole the unsuspecting public, as these policies were being sold at the a cheap price.
To address this anomaly, the National Insurance Commission, NAICOM had earlier collaborated with the Nigerian Customs Service, NCS to end fake insurances at the seaports. This collaboration also seeks to ensure that all goods imported into the country have genuine insurances.
Hameed Ibrahim Ali, a retired Col. and Comptroller-General of Customs said that the collaboration will include NAICOM building technical capacity for the Nigerian Customs to be able to detect the fake insurances at the ports.