How to go about your insurance claims? What to do if your papers and documents are lost? These and more questions are answered in this podcast.
More than 400 people have lost their lives; over seven lakh people have been displaced from their homes; damages worth more than 19500 crore rupees have been reported. Our very own Kerala is going through some of the toughest times in its history. It is time we, as fellow Indians and fellow humans, irrespective of our differences in caste, religion, cuisine, come together and help our friends. And how to go about doing that forms the crux of our story today.
What is the extent of damage? What can we do to help? What about insurance claims? What to do if your papers and documents are lost? These will be the questions we will be answering today. My name is Rakesh, and you are listening to Moneycontrol.
State-owned insurers, including Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and several other PSU insurers, have been asked to settle claims instantly by the government. However, industry sources told Moneycontrol that the insurance claims received are still very few and far in between.
According to sources, the insurance industry's initial estimates for claims are around Rs 450 crore. A majority of it will be motor insurance, home insurance and life insurance. The chief of a mid-size private life insurer said they would simplify all the processes, but the biggest issues is to gauge whether an individual has a policy.
"We have received a few hundred death claims but not all the data has been digitised. So we need to first ascertain whether the person had a policy and if it was in force," said the head of claims at a private life insurer. For home insurance, the struggles will be much higher. Home insurance will cover structure of the house and its contents. Due to all documents being lost, insurance companies are trying to ascertain how to verify the claims filed.
Health insurance claims
For health insurance claims, most diseases will be water-borne. Insurers said the biggest hurdle is to offer hospitalisation facilities. There have been pregnant women who are entitled to cashless claims, but have not been able to reach hospitals due to connectivity being cut off.
"We are also in a fix because only a handful of hospitals are operational and not all of them are in the network. Policy wordings mandate that certain covers will be triggered only if hospitalisation occurs," said the head of underwriting at a state-owned general insurer.
Extent of damage
During the Chennai floods, the most common claims in motor insurance were related to the engine getting submerged in water. This will be the case with Kerala as well.
"There are specific motor covers related to engine protection. Since all data is available digitally, the insurance details can be easily retrieved. However, for large-scale claims, there will be immediate surveys done," said the claims head of a large general insurer.
Some insurers like ICICI Lombard General Insurance are making outbound calls to their customers, to check on their safety and also provide them with support on claims that they wish to intimate.
Furthermore, for motor customers, the company is also directly coordinating with motor vehicle manufacturers to reach out to the customers, to ensure quick and smooth claims processing.
What to do in case of document loss?
We asked leading insurance experts to enable you to negotiate this difficult period. Tarun Mathur, Chief Business Officer, Policybazaar.com says there could be a small window to file your claims unless insurers show come leniency due to the severity of the calamity. “First thing is to call on the toll-free number of the insurer and update about what has happened. Usually, this has to be done within 7 days but in case of natural calamity insurers take an exception and the timeline can go beyond that,” says Mathur.
He said for life insurance claims it is advisable to intimate the claim at the earliest after death has happened. “In case of a dreaded disease or critical illness claim, it should be intimated only after the end of survival period (after 28/30 days of event occurrence). Also, Govt. has directed insurance companies to set up their own help desk so that customers do not face any issue,” Mathur said.
As per market practice when it comes to claim intimation it is always ‘the earlier the better’; But in case of catastrophic loss delay is justified for factors such as resuming back to normal life takes time. IRDAI clearly lays down that the insurer cannot decline a genuine claim for the delay in intimation or delay on submitting documents due to unavoidable circumstances. Hence if there a delay in intimation the same should be substantiated with good reason for delay, says Balachander Sekhar, CEO, RenewBuy.com
In case of motor insurance claims, the insurer makes an exception with the deadlines. Basic details about the policy like policyholder’s name or his PAN details are to be told to the insurer and the rest will be taken care of by the insurer. If you have lost your documents then basic details like vehicle registration number, mobile number can be passed on to the insurer, basis which they will find your policy number in the system and you can lodge a claim on your behalf.
Naval Goel- CEO and Founder of PolicyX.com says the insured should submit the claim form along with the policy documents or along with the FIR (in case of loss). “Some companies also provide claim settlement assistants who will come to claimant's home and collect all documents and will help in the settling the claim,” Goel said.
The claims have to be accompanied by supporting documents. In case you are filing a life insurance claim, Mathur says you need to organise the requisite documents to back the claim. These include:
Claimant form A
KYC documents of the nominee
Bank details of the nominee
Original policy document
FIR/ PMR in case of unnatural death
Medical treatment papers as applicable in case of natural death
One can directly contact their insurance advisor or can lodge a claim on the email id of the insurer. “The same procedure goes for the general insurance but if you do not have any hardcopy or soft copy of the documents then the same should also be updated to the insurer and they will guide you on the same,” Mathur said.Ravichandran N of Kotak General Insurance feels that a copy of insurance and identification documents are stored digitally. There are electronic repositories available for storing insurance documents. In case of natural disasters, most insurance companies will take into account in good spirit and process the claims basis information available with them.
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