Wednesday, November 4, 2020

Insurance firms asked to provide Covid-19 insurance compensation within a week

 A day after the Finance Ministry diktat, the Insurance Board has today instructed insurance companies to settle claims for Covid-19 insurance within a week of verifying their positive polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests.

The insurance sector regulator – issuing a circular today – asked all non-life insurance companies to pay to insured Covid-19 patients with PCR positive reports within seven days. The new directive came after widespread complaints of hassles and delays on acquiring the compensation for the Covid-19 insurance coverage. The insurance companies have collected over a billion rupees in premiums by selling Covid-19 policies that provide coverage of up to Rs 100, 000, but many policyholders have been complaining that insurers have delayed for the claim settlement.

During the meeting yesterday at the Finance Ministry – where Insurance Board chair Chiranjibi Chapagain and Nepal Insurers’ Association president Dip Prakash Pandey were also present – finance minister Bishnu Poudel directed them to settle Covid-19 insurance claims without unnecessary delay. The meeting – that was also attended by the finance secretary Shishir Kumar Dhungana and revenue secretary Ram Sharan Pudasaini – also decided that the Insurance Board will coordinate and monitor the situation of Covid-19 insurance claims and settlement, and submit a daily progress report to the Finance Ministry.

The new Finance Minister Poudel also instructed the Insurance Board not only to make sure that policyholders get their insurance compensation within seven days but also to send daily reports of claim settlements. Accordingly, the Insurance Board has formed a committee led by its director Pujan Dhungel Adhikari including deputy director Nirmal Adhikari and assistant director Kedar Nath Bhatta to look after the complaints from policy holders. The Board has also asked the policyholders to register their grievances and complaints with the Insurance Board or make call on its Toll Free Number.

The Coronavirus Insurance Programme has been announced by the incumbent government in the budget for the current fiscal year. But the programme ran into controversy, immediately as the non-life insurance companies decided not to sell the policy, assuming that the amount to be paid in claims will be very high. After the public outcry, the Finance Ministry was forced to direct Insurance Board to ask the non-life insurance firms to give continuity to the coronavirus insurance scheme, and the government was ready to share the risk with the insurance firms, given the increasing cases of Covid-19 across the country.

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