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PMC plan to appoint ‘consultant’ for insurance schemes draws flak

The civic body decided to appoint a consultant after it struggled to receive a response from insurance companies for the ‘Covid Suraksha Kavach’, a health insurance scheme for urban poor who contract the coronavirus infection.

Written by Ajay Jadhav | Pune | November 29, 2020 5:17:21 am
PMC insurance schemes, Pune Municipal Corporation, Pune news, Maharashtra news, Indian express newsThe PMC also offers health insurance cover for retired as well as serving civic employees and their families, former and sitting corporators and their families, and accident insurance scheme for regular property tax payers in civic jurisdiction.

The BJP-ruled Pune Municipal Corporation’s (PMC’s) decision to appoint an insurance broker firm as a strategic consultant for proper implementation of its many insurance programmes has raised doubts, with the opposition Congress alleging “vested interest” behind such an appointment.

The civic body decided to appoint a consultant after it struggled to receive a response from insurance companies for the ‘Covid Suraksha Kavach’, a health insurance scheme for urban poor who contract the coronavirus infection.

The PMC also offers health insurance cover for retired as well as serving civic employees and their families, former and sitting corporators and their families, and accident insurance scheme for regular property tax payers in civic jurisdiction. The PMC has, till now, implemented these schemes on its own by making a budgetary allocation every year.

“This is the first time that the civic body is looking for a consultant to assist the PMC in implementing insurance schemes,” said PMC health chief Ashish Bharati. The consultant, an insurance broker firm, will oversee the strategic conceptualisation and initialisation of annual insurance programmes, Bharati said in the proposal.

“The PMC will implement the scheme through insurance companies instead of implementing on its own. This will reduce expenditure as the insurance companies will professionally scrutinise the claim proposals, and it will enable the civic body to cover more beneficiaries,” said a civic officer.

As per the plan, the insurance broker will review existing policies, assist in identifying the risks involved and the appropriate risk transfer mechanism, examine existing policies which are due for renewal in terms of risk coverage, fix the insured sum, and check the clauses, warranties and conditions.

The broker will also suggest changes, if needed, during renewal of insurance policies, review and recommend additional or new insurance cover after considering the risks, and appraise available insurance covers. The broker will also assist PMC in preparing expression of interest documents and evaluating technical bids. The broker will assist in negotiating and finalising the terms and conditions of insurance-optimising cost.

City Congress general secretary Ramesh Iyer said there was no need to appoint a consultant for implementing civic insurance schemes. “The insurance companies need a database for implementing any scheme. If the PMC provides them the database, then… there is no need of spending money on a consultant,” he said.

He further alleged, “There seems to be vested interest in the way the PMC is planning to appoint an insurance broker as its consultant. The PMC should instead appoint the retired officer of a government-owned insurance company as its consultant. The expertise of the retired officer can help PMC achieve its objective,” he said.

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