By Tony Obiechina Abuja
The National Insurance Commission (NAICOM) has frowned at the situation whereby public buildings and those under construction above two floors are left uninsured against fire outbreaks.
Consequently, the Commission will henceforth apply Section 65 of the Insurance Act 2003 “which stipulates that all public buildings shall be adequately insured”.
Speaking at a sensitization workshop for Federal and State Fire officers in Abuja, the Deputy Commissioner for Insurance (Technical), Alhaji Sabiu Bello Abubakar, said “also, Section 64of the Act provides that all buildings under construction above 2 floors shall be adequately insured”.
According to him, the Workshop was convened as part of ongoing efforts to apprise participants of their roles in enforcing the insurance of public building and building under construction above 2 floor, adding that “it has now more than before become imperative to put in place measures to enforce the insurance of Public Building in Nigeria”.
The Deputy Commissioner said “it is pertinent to note that the Commission can better achieve this task with the full cooperation of the Federal and State Fire Service. Today’s workshop is a part of the drive to achieve the above mandate as enshrined in extant laws.
“It is very worrisome to the Commission that most public buildings and buildings under construction above 2 floors are never adequately and appropriately insured, which further accentuated the need for urgent measures to be put in place by the Commission to ensure that these buildings are adequately insured. It is the desire of NAICOM to change this narrative for good.
“The essence of Insurance of public buildings and buildings under construction above 2 floors is to cushion the impact and reduce the burden and liabilities that the owner/government would have to bear in likely occurrences of catastrophic events such as natural disasters, fire, accidents, building collapse, injuries or death to third parties, etc, thereby saving the government money which can be channeled towards augmenting the needs of the citizenry, providing infrastructure, and creating employment, among others.
“As follow-up to the success of previous nationwide awareness campaigns for compulsory insurance, NAICOM is moving the bar a notch higher. Therefore, this Sensitization Workshop is aimed at equipping Fire Service Officers with the necessary knowledge to properly enforce the insurance of public buildings and buildings under construction above 2 floors.
Abubakar was optimistic that at the end of this Workshop, the Fire Service officers will now have the knowledge of insurance of public buildings adding, “We are quite sure of a much better participation in the next batches lined up to educate Officers of Fire Services of their responsibilities and the benefits inherent if public buildings are adequately insured”.
In her remarks, the representative of the Conmptroller General of the Federal Fire Service, Mrs Debbie Windele lauded the collaboration between the Fire Service and NAICOM, adding that “this collaboration was made possible due to the cooperation of the Commissioner for insurance and the Commission”.
According to her “this partnership between the Fire Service, and NAICOM is absolutely necessary as section 65 of the Insurance Act 2003, not only provides for all public buildings in the Federation to be insured, but in subsection 4, it provides that 0.25 per cent of the net premium received by every direct insurer on policies issued from public buildings shall be paid quarterly by every insurer into the Fire Services Maintenance Fund”.
“These proceeds collated into this Fund by the Commission shall be disbursed to the Fire Service for the purpose of providing grant or equipment. The existence of this Funds and the prudent utilization of same, can turn the tide in the Fire Service in achieving its mandate.This Fund would certainly make issues of lack of equipment a story of the past in the Fire Sector in Nigeria”, she added.
*From left: Mr. Leonard Akah (Director, Policy & Regulation NAICOM), Alh. Sabiu Bello Abubakar (Deputy Commissioner for Insurance, Technical) and Mrs. Debbie Windele (Rep of the Comptroller General of the Federal Fire Service) at the Sensitisation Workshop.