NIC to educate public on compulsory property insurance

The National Insurance Commission (NIC) is to embark on a nationwide sensitisation programme to educate the public on the compulsory property insurance.

The Commissioner of Insurance, Mr Justice Yaw Ofori who disclosed this said the move was to enforce the Insurance Law, Act 724 of 2006 which made it compulsory for privately owned business entities to insure their properties, which many are yet to comply. 

The law, per Sections 183 and 184, makes it mandatory for all commercial properties either under construction or completed, to have valid insurance certificates.

The compulsory property insurance is to provide financial protection against legal liabilities arising from accidents that cause property damage, bodily injury or death to the public. Occupiers (tenants) of commercial buildings can also benefit from taking fire insurance on their businesses because they may be held liable to the public. 

Mr Ofori cited the June 3, 2015 disaster as a typical example of a commercial property that should provide compensation to victims of the accident.

The impending enforcement exercise, he hinted was to ensure that Sections 183 and 184 of the Insurance Act were complied with in the interest of owners, occupiers and the general public.  

He lamented the fact that many people spent fortunes in setting up businesses but have a foot-dragging attitude towards paying a little premium to protect these investments. One need not be an owner before legally insuring a property but an occupier has equal responsibilities too, he stressed.

“People who come on to your property to transact business are seen as invitees as such and you are responsible for their well-being”, he cautioned.

He used the opportunity to clear any ambiguity regarding what property insurance covers. 

According to him, property insurance was the same as fire insurance as the term is used interchangeably in certain western jurisdictions but conventionally acceptable anywhere in the world.

He also indicated that it is not only the peril, fire that is covered but other perils such as earthquake, flood, thunderstorm, burglary are all covered under fire insurance.

He said although the law was not specific about churches and other religious places of worship but it is important to have them insure their properties because they could be held liable for property damage, injuries or death to the public arising out of their negligence.

The Compulsory Commercial Property Insurance Taskforce comprises officials of the NIC and other relevant stakeholders such as the Ghana Police Service and the Ghana National Fire Service.

BY KINGSLEY ASARE

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