Insurance companies are gearing up to assess claims from flood-ravaged Jammu and Kashmir but point out that the state has low penetration of general insurance.
“Insurers will do their best. The details of insured property and assessment of such claims will start once the flood waters recede and communication links are restored. However, data suggests that insurance penetration in the state is less than 1 per cent of the market share,” said R Chandrasekhar, secretary-general, General Insurance Council of India.
According to latest data available with the council, the state had a general insurance penetration of just 0.53 per cent as against the national average of 0.73 per cent in 2012-13.
This is much lower compared to states like Chandigarh where non-life insurance penetration is 1.49 per cent and Maharashtra with 1.07 per cent.
The density of general insurance, which is the ratio of total insurance premia to the total population in Jammu and Kashmir is also just Rs 320 as against the national average of Rs 568.
But Chandrasekhar warned that the data could be under-representative as some companies may have chosen to buy the policy from the head office of the insurer, which would be out of the state.
Most of the claims in the non-life sector are likely from property, motor and health insurance.
In life insurance sector, the penetration is slightly higher at 0.59 per cent in 2012-13, almost on the lines of the All India average of 0.66 per cent.
But even in the life insurance sector, penetration is significantly higher in states like West Bengal (0.85 per cent) and Delhi (0.91per cent).
“We are ready to handle all insurance claims from the state,” said an official from Life Insurance Corporation of India. Over 200 people are feared to be dead in the state, where incessant rains in the past week has led to many parts being completely submerged.
The finance ministry too is getting into action to ensure that all insurance claims are processed swiftly.
“The policyholders will not suffer in any way. Facilities such as relaxation in documentation and camps to ensure swift processing of claims will be provided,” said an official, adding that similar facilities were also provided after the Uttarakhand floods.
PNB MetLife announced last week that it would set up dedicated claim processing camps in the valley to support the victims. “The camps aim to ensure hassle-free claim settlement for the customers across the valley. In view of the grim situation, the claim process has been simplified and requires minimal documentation,” it said in a statement.