‘Insurance companies don’t give a damn about court orders’

Moazum Mohammad

Srinagar: Despite clear orders from the High Court to insurance companies to provide interim relief to flood-hit business community, major companies are brazenly violating the directions.
One such company Bajaj Allianz, which is J&K Bank’s business partner, in its status report filed before the court earlier this week reported that out of 4,870 intimations, it has been able to settle only 197.
Likewise, the four public sector insurance companies namely National Insurance Company, New India Assurance Company, United India Insurance Company, and Oriental India Insurance Company have been accused of indulging in dilly-dallying tactics in settling the claims.
The four companies had launched a public camp in Srinagar in the aftermath of floods. However, many clients who spoke to Kashmir Reader on Friday alleged that these companies were even yet to depute insurance surveyors to their places to assess the losses.
“I submitted an application along with the documents two weeks ago. The officials assured me that the surveyor will contact me the next day, but as of now nobody has contacted me. I had to again remind the insurance officials to depute the surveyor, and instead they sought documents along with application again,” said a client who wished not to be named for fear of reprisal.
Another complainant, a leading trader from Karan Nagar, said the officials of Bajaz Allianz were “acting like babus of East India Company.” He said, “I have suffered a huge loss. The surveyor inspected my office-cum-godown a fortnight ago. I submitted the necessary documents, but now they are refusing to settle my claim without giving any convincing reason.”
The Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), an amalgam of various trade bodies, acknowledged the problems faced by the traders and criticized the insurance companies for creating hurdles in settling claims. Chairman KEA, Mohammad Yasin Khan, said the insurance companies were aware that people suffered losses but were unnecessarily raising issues.
“Everyone suffered losses, and most of business community keeps manual records here. That got washed away as well. Now the insurance companies are seeking documents which got destroyed in floods, hence creating hurdles in settling claims. On the top of it, they brazenly disobey court orders,” Khan told Kashmir Reader.
The insurance companies, Khan said, were trying to measure losses employing some unknown yardstick. “On the one hand J&K Bank insured our businesses through Bajaj Allianz but now they are raising unwarranted issues. The bank must rein in their insurance partner to provide sincere services to clients. Majority of insurance companies resort to dilly-dallying tactics which has added to our woes,” Khan added.
A senior executive of J&K Bank, Pushap Kumar Tickoo, said they do take up the cases of aggrieved customers with the Bajaj Allianz to settle their claims in a fair manner.
On its part, Bajaj Allianz’s state head Ajaz Khan denied such complaints. He claimed they have been specific about documents and were trying to settle claims swiftly. “We have surveyed 90 percent intimations and have settled around 500 claims till Friday noon. We have paid more than Rs 28.9 crore to insurers. We are settling all claims at a very fast rate,” Ajaz told Kashmir Reader.
He said some people who haven’t suffered losses were trying to take undue advantage of the situation and come up with intimations. “We have specifically designed survey report as compared to public sector insurance companies. We don’t seek all the documents, but we are bound by audit as well,” Ajaz said.
“If any of our surveyors is found to harass people or raise unnecessary queries, please pass on the information to me,” he added.