HC seeks survey samples by insurance companies on floods

Srinagar: The J&K High Court Wednesday asked all major insurance companies operating in the flood-ravaged state to bring some samples of cases where survey has been conducted so that it may analyze whether the interim relief would meet the ends of justice.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation seeking interim payment of 50 per cent on sum assured to claimants, a Division Bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey also asked counsel for the companies to seek instruction on the issue of awarding interim relief on the assured amount subject to the stipulation that the final claim would adjust the interim relief either way.
The direction followed discussion at length by the court regarding grant of interim relief to flood affected.
During the discussion, counsel for the insurance companies informed the court that in case of Uttarakhand flood last year, 50 percent of the assessed amount was the parameter adopted for awarding the interim relief and it was paid within one week.
On the other hand, senior advocate Z A Shah, counsel for claimants, vehemently argued that the buildings insured are still under water along stock.
“The number of claims is too huge that even the interim survey report would take two years because there is limited number of surveyors.”
For example, he said, the Bajaj Alliance has only 90 surveyors to assess the claim of ten thousand persons.
“Therefore on the basis of the sum assured, 50 percent amount should be released with the stipulation that the final claim would adjust the interim relief either way.”
Subsequently, the bench asked the insurance companies to bring some samples of cases where survey has been conducted so that it may analyze as to whether the interim relief would meet the ends of justice or “some other course needs to be adopted.”
“The counsel for the companies shall seek instruction on the issue of awarding interim relief on the assured amount subject to the stipulation as aforesaid.”
The bench also revealed reason for adopting such an approach, saying that in many areas the water has gone upto 12 feet and whole stock of assured has been damaged.
“Various article which have been touched by flood water, the Director Health Services has issued advisory not to the touch (them) which may be contaminated and may cause health problems.”
In such situation, the bench said, it has to be found by insurance companies whether there could be any possibility of deviating from the assured amount on the basis of adopting yardstick of interim report by them and post the case for further consideration on Thursday.

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