NIC to resume enforcement of compulsory fire insurance

BY: Emmanuel Bruce

The National Insurance Commission (NIC) will soon resume its enforcement exercise to ensure that all commercial buildings are insured against fire, Deputy Commissioner of Insurance, Mr Michael Andoh, has said.

Although the Insurance Act, 2006, (Act 724) makes it compulsory for privately owned businesses to insure their properties, many are yet to comply with this provision.

Sections 183 and 184 of the law make it mandatory for all commercial properties, either under construction or completed, to have valid insurance certificates to provide financial protection against legal liabilities arising from accidents that cause property damage, bodily injury or death to an individual.

As a result of the non-compliance with this provision, the NIC has set up a task force which from time to time go out to sensitise the owners of these commercial properties in a bid to enforce the law.

In the wake of the Makola fire outbreak and other fire outbreaks in the country, Mr Andoh said the commission would soon resume its enforcement exercise across the country.

The Deputy Commissioner said this in an interview with the media when the NIC made a GHȼ300,000 donation to the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS).

He said even though the exercise of clamping down on uninsured private commercial properties had improved compliance over the past years, there were still some recalcitrant property owners out there flouting the directive, hence the need for the comeback.

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Donation to GNFS

The donation to the GNFS is to help the service complete its on-going three-storey forensic fire laboratory aimed at speeding up the processes of assessing the cause of fire incidents in the country.

This follows an initial donation of GHȼ500,000 from the NIC at the commencement of the project, which brings the NIC’s total contribution to GHȼ800,000.

The lab unit will assist the service to use scientific methods to determine the origin and clear causes of fire incidents for public safety.

The forensic laboratory which is being built at the headquarters of the GNFS is the first of its kind since the Service was first established in 1963.

Mr Andoh said the building of the forensic laboratory would assist the Commission to price fire risks properly.

"For us as Insurers, it will help us price the fire risks properly and also help us in our claims administration. Some people who have made fire claims before will tell you that sometimes the claims take long in coming and that is because they need to identify what caused the fire and a I believe a laboratory like this will make it easier and faster for us to do this. This collaboration between the NIC and the GNFS is going to continue hopefully until the laboratory is completed,” he stated.

Effective scientific methods

Deputy Chief Fire Officer Mr Julian Kunnor received the cheque on behalf of the GNFS and said the project would ensure that effective scientific methods were used to identify the causes of fire outbreaks.

"We're confident that with the enhanced scientific method of investigation, sub-standard products will be recalled from the markets and many more fires that could be prevented,” he said.