After SC Chide, Insurance Companies Start Paying

11 October 2014
Greater Kashmir
Mukeet Akmali

Srinagar: A day after Supreme Court refused to interfere with the Jammu and Kashmir High Court order to insurance companies, the insurers have started to provide interim compensation to the flood affected people in Jammu and Kashmir. The Supreme Court on Friday directed insurance companies to pay 50 per cent of insured amount for policies above Rs 25 lakh and 95 per cent for policies below Rs 25 lakh as interim relief to people who lost their properties in the recent floods. Senior Divisional Manager, United India Insurance Company Limited, Dr. Nazir Ahmad said that from today they have started providing interim relief by releasing the initial amount of claims. 'Today we have provided interim relief amount to many of our clients and our team of officials is working round the clock in order to further release initial amount of claims as per court directions to insured parties. In coming days this process will further expedite so that the grievance of flood affected is redressed as soon as possible,' he said. 'After Supreme Court directions, we are awaiting the assessment reports to be submitted by surveyors and after obtaining reports within shorter span of time we issue cheques in favor of affected,' he said. He further added that their 32 teams of surveyors are surveying and preparing the reports of damaged properties. 'Once the reports are submitted we will settle the claims on fast track basis,' he said. Talking to Greater Kashmir over phone, Dy General Manager, National Insurance Company Limited, S K Samantaray said that they will initiate settlement of claims and also provide interim relief. 'Our staff is already working on ground and surveyors are assessing the damages suffered by claimants, once they will submit their reports, we will not only provide interim relief but also settle full claims as soon as possible,' he said. However, private sector insurance companies had already started settling claims and in some cases have already paid the claim amounts. State head, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company, Aijaz Khan said that they are in process of final settlement of around 2000 insurance claims in the Kashmir valley within a week's time. The company has so far paid insurance claims involving an amount of over Rs 35 crore by settling more than 700 cases. He said that Bajaj Allianz had not approached the Supreme Court against the order of the J&K High Court. Four public sector insurance companies had jointly approached the Supreme Court with a plea seeking one month time to carry out the survey before settling the claims, which was rejected by the apex court. Notably, Bajaj Allianz is extending insurance cover here in association with J&K Bank. Ahmad said the company has already announced that the claims where loss is up to Rs 50,000 would be settled without involving a surveyor. The claims up to Rs 5 lakhs are being settled through fast track system and surveyors have been instructed to finalize them on the spot. The company has sought cooperation of the claimants and assured that they would be getting their money at any cost. Meanwhile, the national head of Claims, Bajaj Allianz, Praveen Chajjed who is camping in the valley for last 22 days, said, 'Ours is the first company to start surveying the losses in the state. We deployed a strong team of surveyors here, who swiftly got into action and reached the affected people in minimum possible time. So far 90% of claims intimated till date have been surveyed.' To mention, a bench headed by Chief Justice H L Dattu refused to interfere with Jammu and Kashmir High Court order to the companies to pay the claim of flood-affected people and rejected their plea seeking one month time to carry out the survey before settling the claims. The insurance companies- United India, National, Oriental India and New India Insurance- submitted that till October 9, 2014, they have received 9917 claims of an estimated amount of Rs. 980.49 crores and they have already made 983 cheques of Rs 25.104 crores. On September 30, J&K High Court had ordered insurance companies to pay 50 percent of insured amount for policies above Rs 25 lakh and 95 percent for policies below Rs 25 lakh as interim relief to the flood-affected people. In its order of September 26 on a Public Interest Litigation, the court had directed that the policy decision of General Insurers Public Sector Association (GIPSA) with regard to relief to the flood affected people of the state should be strictly complied with.