Insurance companies take claimants for ride despite court orders
Defying the High Court orders, Insurance companies continue to dodge customers in settling their claims for the damages caused in the floods that struck Kashmir last month.
Rising Kashmir office has been receiving many complaints for the last two weeks from insurance policy holders, alleging that the companies are either delaying the claims or are offering minimal amount for the damages of their properties worth lakhs of rupees.
“In recent floods my house got damaged but insurance company (Bajaj Allianz) is only offering me Rs 48,000 to settle the claim when the total damage to the house is more than Rs 10 lakhs. My insurance policy is of Rs 40 lakhs,” said a claimant wishing not to be named for the fear of not getting the due amount.
He alleged the company made him run from pillar to post to get all the papers attached before applying for the compensation.
“First I had to hire an Engineer to evaluate the damage. After finalizing the report, insurance company rejected it based on the excuse that the quality of the paper on which report is written is not a standard one,” the claimant said.
He alleged that after submitting the papers, the company dragged the case for several days before finalizing the matter.
“After going through so much hardship they offered me Rs 48000 in the end,” he said.
The High Court has asked the Insurance Companies to adhere to the court orders on payment of compensation to flood victim claimants of the State, saying “else it would freeze their accounts and appoint two senior lawyers for disbursement of claims.”
However, not adhering to directions of court, insurance companies have taken claimants for a ride.
“For the past two weeks I have been continuously visiting Bajaj Allianz office to settle my claims but every time they are sending me home with false assurances that the case will be settled in due course of time,” said Tariq Ahmad of Padshahi Bagh.
Tariq said he has lost his poultry farm with a total damage of Rs 7 lakh in floods.
“After toiling hard, I was finally able to start my poultry farm but floods took everything from me. My only hope is now the insurance money,” said Tariq.
The court had sought compliance report in respect of shopkeepers’ policy concerning Rs 25 lakh and above Rs 25 lakh as well as on polices relating to houses and automobiles keeping in view the orders dated September 26 and October 1.
Showkat Ahmad, hotelier from Dalgate area, said out of total damage of Rs 18 lakh, the insurance company (Bajaj Allianz) is compelling him to settle the claim on Rs 3.20 lakhs.
“It is outrageous. I honestly submitted the report of the total damage of my hotel, hopping the insurance company will settle the issue but instead they are offering peanuts in the name of settlement,” said Showkat.
In another case, a claimant of Nowgam who has insurance from United India Insurance Company Limited said he was humiliated by one of the officials after demanding the compensation of his losses.
“They misbehaved with me when I objected on the compensation money they were offering. My total damage is Rs 20 lakh and they were offering me a meager amount of Rs 38,000,” he said.
State head, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company, Aijaz Khan said the company has so far paid insurance claims of more than 3500 cases.
“I haven’t come across any such incident in which a claimant has either been dodged or offered a meager amount against his claims. We have already settled 3500 cases till date,” said Khan.
He said the company has sought cooperation of the claimants and assured that they would be getting their money at any cost.
Refuting the allegations, senior Divisional Manager, United India Insurance Company Limited, Nazir Ahmad said the company has settled hundreds of cases in last two weeks.
“Our team is working hard to settle as many cases possible,” he said.
Divisional Manager of National Insurance Company Hazari Singh said they are still assessing the losses to the vehicles.
“Our surveyors are working tirelessly to expedite the procedure of assessing the losses. Once the final reports will be submitted, we will settle the claims as per the high court directions,” said Singh.
Earlier, the Supreme Court while dismissing a Special Leave Petition by the Insurance Companies upheld the Jammu and Kashmir High Court order directing the 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.