Bajaj Allianz settling claims from today, to make direct payments
Insurance companies operating in Kashmir have dispelled the apprehension that by declaring the present catastrophe caused by floods as national calamity, the insurance companies would be absolved of paying claims to the claimants.
Chaos and confusion struck people here whose property and stocks stands insured in the affected areas here when the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, in an exclusive interview to this newspaper, stated that by declaring floods as national calamity, “the insurance companies will not pay out damages to the extent they should do.”
Omar had said: “I won’t want to take a step where the insurance companies can get an exit clause and my people suffer. Because if I give five lakhs but you are insured for crores, it makes no sense.” However, he further stated: “The moment I am convinced it will benefit the people, I will write to the Government of India.”
In response to the statement, Greater Kashmir received several queries from different quarters who have suffered extensive losses in the devastation caused by the floods seeking clarification about the status of their insurance policies. Experts who have handled insurance claims of more severe nature expressed surprise over the Chief Minister’s statement.
Explaining link between the present catastrophe by declaring it as national calamity and the insurance, the experts from national-level insurance companies said, “There is no impact on the insurance claim when a catastrophe is declared as national calamity. These are two different things. In such circumstances, the insurance companies can never be absolved of their liability of paying insurance claims to the affected people.”
Meanwhile, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company, one of the major general insurance players operating in Kashmir, is all set to pay insurance claims to the affected people from Friday. Notably, the company is extending insurance cover here in association with J&K Bank.
A high-level team of the company led by its Head of Claims, Praveen Chhajed, is camping in the valley for the past several days to expedite the process of claim settlement to the entire satisfaction of its policy holders. Around 200 personnel including surveyors and field staff of the company are currently active in the affected areas.
In an exclusive interview with Greater Kashmir, Chhajed said, “Despite huge challenges, especially connectivity challenge, process of settlement of claims is beginning today. We are directly crediting the insurance claim amount in the clients’ accounts.”
While detailing out the modus-operandi of claim settlement, Chhajed said that the claims where loss is up to Rs 50000 are being settled without involving a surveyor. “The claims up to Rs 5 lakh are being settled through fast-track system and surveyors have been instructed to negotiate it on the spot. In case of big claims, there are a few constraints like segregation of stocks etc. that cause a little bit of delay. However, in these cases we have decided to pay on account some portion of the claim and during the process claim will be settled fully.”
The Head of Claims listed communication collapse in the affected areas as unprecedented. “Connectivity, both telecom and road connectivity, emerged as a major challenge in settling the claims expeditiously. In absence of electronic communication link, we immediately established physical helpdesk centres across the valley so that the insured personally intimates his claim,” said Praveen Chhajed.
However, he says the connectivity of the company’s Srinagar office with rest of the country stands restored and settlement of claims will pick up fast in the coming days.
He sought cooperation of the claimants and assured them that they would be getting their money at any cost. “Bajaj Allainz is always there for the people of J&K. We are here to cement our relations with the people and will always remain at their service,” he said and further requested the insured to follow advisory which appeared in this newspaper a few days ago. “This would help us to settle the claim expeditiously,” he said.