J&K floods: IRDA asks life insurers to settle claims fast

In view of massive floods resulting in loss of lives and belongings in Jammu & Kashmir, Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDA) has asked life insurers to take immediate steps for expeditious settlement of claims.

Mumbai: In view of massive floods resulting in loss of lives and belongings in Jammu & Kashmir, Insurance Regulatory Authority of India (IRDA) has asked life insurers to take immediate steps for expeditious settlement of claims.

Meanwhile, general insurers like SBI, ICICI and Tata AIG are gearing up to settle fast the deluge of claims from the flood-hit valley.

"In order to extend every possible facilitation in quick and timely settlement of life insurance claims to the affected people of the state of Jammu & Kashmir...Initiate immediate action to ensure that all initial claims are registered and eligible claims are settled expeditiously," said an IRDA communique to CEOs of all life insurers.

"Convey the contact particulars of the nodal officer so nominated to the chief secretary and officer concerned of the government of Jammu & Kashmir who would be overseeing the efforts being made to mitigate the suffering and loss of the victims of the floods," it said.

The nominated nodal officers may be also advised to contact the chief secretary or officer concerned of the state of Jammu & Kashmir to discuss facilitation measures, it added.

While the general insurance industry is set to take a big hit on their bottom lines considering the massive devastation, none of them is ready to quantify the losses saying it is too early to do and that so far they have not received any claims.

"It's difficult to say at the moment what kind of claims and how much will come to us. All I can now say is that all the claims will be coming from calamity and catastrophe categories," ICICI Lombard chief of underwriting and claims Sanjay Datta told PTI.

"Individual insurance coverage has been provided by us to the people living in the affected regions basically in sectors like motor and property. While we are expecting damage repair claims under motor segment, we also see claims coming in from property side which have been either destroyed or washed away in the floods," he said.

The company, which offers motor, home, health and other insurance products to its customers in the state, has taken a host of initiatives to expedite claim settlement process for the affected people in the region.

SBI General Insurance has put a flag on its official site detailing the claim process.

SBI General Insurance MD and CEO Bhaskar J Sarma said: "We have put a flag on our site detailing the claim process. We are also letting them know what is the process to lodge the claims and we have put a flag on our site to serve the purpose."

"We have assessed our exposure across our commercial, retail and motor business in the area and we are trying to establish contact with customers in the affected areas through the claims team activated by us...We are already in touch with local SBI authority to help us coordinate the whole process," Sarma added.

Tata AIG General Insurance has stationed people in the region to ensure proper communication for claim settlement.

"We have stationed our men there to ensure proper communication in connection with claim settlement process. However, the issue was economic losses taking place as a result of catastrophic losses don't turn into insurance losses as insurance penetration in the country was too low," Tata AIG General Insurance chief executive KK Mishra said.