Government has initiated moves to financially support the National Insurance Commission (NIC) to build an electronic database on insurance contracts which is expected to be ready before the end of this year.
The database would, among other things enable the NIC to centralize data on all insurance contracts to effectively manage the claims process to ensure reliable, convenient and prompt payment of genuine claims to deserving clients.
This new initiative is expected to remove all bottlenecks and eliminate unnecessary bureaucracy associated with the process and ensure that policy holders get their claims in a timely manner.
This was revealed to by the Deputy Commissioner of the Commission, Mr. Kofi Andoh during the launch of the second phase of the Insurance Awareness Campaign project which is aimed at increasing insurance penetration in the country.
Insurance claims cover everything from death benefits on life insurance policies to compensation for loss of or damage to assets through general (non-life) insurance policies. Insurance companies validate the claim submitted by the policy holder, and once approved, it issues payment to the insured or an approved interested party.
However, there have sometimes been numerous delays associated with the validation and payment of claims in the country, thus the introduction of this centralized database is expected to reduce the inefficiencies in the claims process.
“In addition to this, we need to get the insurance companies to understand that paying claim promptly is the best marketing tool they can adopt. When people pay their premiums, they are buying claims”, he reiterated.
Of particular importance, the establishment of the database system would also enable the Commission to better regulate motor insurance, which is compulsory and thus the biggest segment of the non-life insurance market. This is part of a concerted effort to clamp down on fake motor insurance in the country.
This follows growing concerns that a number of people are unknowingly buying fake insurance stickers from the market and the Regulator and players in the insurance sector are seeking to eliminate this practice from the system.
When the database becomes operational, this implies that motor insurance will be issued digitally resulting in some advantages. According to the Deputy Commissioner, the move will enable the police to confirm the validity of motor insurance of drivers just by logging the vehicle registration number into the database using their mobile devices.
Already, the NIC has issued claim management regulations and ensured their implementation, forcing all insurance companies to comply with the set regulations binding their activities.
The Commission, through the Ghana Insurers Association (GIA) has also established a Claims Management Bureau – an office run by the insurance companies themselves, meant to quicken and monitor claims management and payment as well as making it easier and more convenient for insurance policyholders to seek redress of their grievances when their claims are disputed by their insurers.
By Dundas Whigham