TIRA vows to combat fraud

DAR ES SALAAM: THE government has vowed to combat fraud in the insurance sector in order to restore fairness to the country’s insurance industry.

To achieve this, the government, through the Tanzania Insurance Regulations Authority (TIRA), convened a meeting with Insurers’ Chief Executive Officers and Claim Officers to discuss shared solutions to the challenges facing the industry.

Speaking to the ‘Daily News’ shortly after a meeting held in Dar es Salaam on Thursday, TIRA Principal Legal Officer Mr Emily Kiria said the objective is to have an insurance market that is free from fraud.

“The government and the regulator want to eradicate fraud in the insurance industry, but since faults are part of human nature, we can at least significantly reduce it,” he said.

He added that another goal of the session was to ensure that filed insurance claims are managed promptly, fairly and efficiently.

Commenting on the fraud challenges brought about by technological advancement, particularly the use of artificial intelligence (AI), Mr Kiria said that the government has already enacted laws and regulations tied to this development.

He added that TIRA is also in the process of digitising itself to strengthen different systems for managing and acquiring information from other collaborating institutions in order to spot fraud and streamline tasks.

“Technology is advancing beyond insurance regulations; it is a global phenomenon. Therefore, we are well-organised and, without a doubt, we are fortifying the systems, so everything will work out,” he stressed.

Regarding post-session expectations, he stated that TIRA and the industry at large rely on the decrease of fraud concerns, and those who refuse to comply will face legal repercussions.

“Strong measures will be taken against them,” he noted.

He, however, acknowledged the existence of several instances of fraudulent claims made directly to insurance companies or through lawsuits, noting that the authority is taking appropriate measures.

“In addition to carrying out our ongoing fraud control procedures, we have also chosen to gather today to exchange knowledge and discuss solutions to these issues,” he explained.

According to him, insurance offices are the ones operating in the field and generating revenue. Therefore, the key to solving the problem was to collaborate with them and come to a mutual agreement.

Explaining the rationale behind calling the particular meeting, Mr Kiria stated that the TIRA commissioner had instructed them to investigate and determine the most effective means of guaranteeing that insurance claims are processed fairly and appropriately.

“So those who are entitled to payment should receive it, and those who are not should not, in order to uphold fairness,” he elaborated.

Mentioning some of the challenges in the insurance sector, he said they include delayed claims, rejected claims and claimants being disturbed when trying to receive their entitlements.

He said the goal of TIRA is to maintain the smooth operation of the insurance market and penalise insurers for their mistakes.

The meeting covered various topics, including an overview of the insurance claims management guidelines for 2022, an appraisal of the minimum third-party death and bodily injury guidelines for 2022, practical challenges faced by insurance and reinsurance companies in claims handling, and a reflection on effective claims handling procedures and their benefits to the industry.

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