Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Finance Ministry directs to settle Covid insurance claims within a week

 After huge public outcry about the non-payment of compensation from insurance companies, the Finance Ministry today directed to the insurance sector regulator to settle Covid-19 insurance claims of the claimants within a week of verifying their positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

During a meeting held at the Finance Ministry, Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel directed the Insurance Board and Nepal Insurers’ Association (NIA) to settle the claims within seven days. During the meeting, the minister also directed them to establish a hotline number and help desk services to register complaints.

The minister directed – both the Insurance Board chair Chiranjibi Chapagain and Nepal Insurers’ Association president Dip Prakash Pandey -- to settle the claims without any unnecessary delay, though the ministry and Insurance Board should have taken action against the insurance companies for not settling the claims.

The meeting – also attended by the finance secretary Shishir Kumar Dhungana and revenue secretary Ram Sharan Pudasaini – also decided that the Insurance Board to coordinate and monitor the situation of Covid-19 insurance claims and settlement and submit a daily progress report to the ministry.

The Coronavirus Insurance Programme has been announced by the government in the budget for the current fiscal year. But, the programme courted controversy after non-life insurance companies decided not to sell the policy as the amount to be paid in claims will be very high.

However, the Insurance Board directed non-life insurance company to give continuity to the coronavirus insurance scheme after the government’s assurance to share the risk with the insurance companies.

Meanwhile, Indian ambassador to Nepal Vinay Mohan Kwatra also paid a courtesy call to finance minister Poudel today. Ambassador Kwatra, on the occasion, handed over a cheque of Rs 1 billion for housing reconstruction projects in Gorkha and Nuwakot that are being supported by India.

The insurance companies sold Covid-19 policies that covers up to Rs 100, 000. As the number of Covid-19 cases increased, the insurance companies failed to settle the claims.

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