After a powerful earthquake jolted Assam and other parts of the northeast last week, general insurance companies have started receiving claims, mostly in property insurance segment.
The earthquake measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale rocked Assam on April 28. The epicentre of the quake was located at Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district. The tremors, which were felt across northeast India, some parts of Bihar and West Bengal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, left several buildings and roads in Assam damaged.
“From Assam as well as other northeastern states, we have started receiving claims. Number of claims received so far is 28. All the claims received are due to damages to dwellings, residential/hotel buildings and show rooms under fire and allied perils insurance policies,” National Insurance Company chairman-cum-managing director Tajinder Mukherjee told FE on Tuesday.
For public sector insurer National Insurance Company (NIC), the approximate claim size varies in the range of Rs 6 lakh to Rs 10 lakh as these are mostly residential building losses. “Catastrophic claims are generally handled by the industry on top priority,” Mukherjee said.
“It is too early to comment on the approximate claim size for the industry as a whole due to this quake. We expect the industry claim size numbers to be apparent to us by end of the first week of May,” said Sanjay Datta, chief – Underwriting, Claims and Reinsurance, ICICI Lombard General Insurance.
Talking to FE, Datta said the claim intimations have incepted with around 20 claims reported to ICICI Lombard in the property insurance segment. “Almost all the claims are from the retail segment with average per claim value of `10 lakh. We expect more claims to be reported over the next few days,” he informed.
According to him, for the claims reported to the private general insurer, it has already appointed surveyors to conduct the surveys and assist it with their claim settlement recommendations for the losses suffered by the customers.
On whether the ongoing pandemic, in any way, would cause delay in settling claims for the quake, NIC said there could be issues in places where there is a total lockdown as the movement of surveyors would be restricted. “We will be closely monitoring the situation and taking steps for quick settlement,” Mukherjee said.
ICICI Lombard said as it will get the inspections of the loss site done mostly through virtual surveys, it does not foresee the ongoing pandemic to have any significant effect on its claims servicing. “The virtual surveys assist us in crunching the timelines required to settle a claim and enables us to make the claim settlement offer to the customers in a short span of time,” Datta added.