Kerala floods: How to file life, motor and home insurance claims
The IRDAI has already asked insurers for quick registration and disposal of claims for any one affected by these floods.
The insurance regulator has asked insurers to streamline the claims process to mitigate the hardships of the affected insured population of the state.
However, to get insurance claims settled, it is imperative that you inform the insurer as soon as possible.
Inform the insurer
The most important thing to be aware of in the claims filing process is to immediately intimate the insurer in writing or on their toll free number. Avoid any kind of delay due to lack of original papers and so on.
Reach out to the insurance company directly or through your agent and file the application or give it in writing with an acknowledgement copy. One may even call the insurer on their helpline number and register the claim and get the registration number. "If your insurance papers go missing, then the first thing to do is call the toll-free number of the insurance company or aggregator and inform them about the loss suffered. The claim should ideally be made within 7 days but in such scenarios, the insurers extend the deadlines", says Tarun Mathur, Chief Business Officer, Policybazaar.com.
The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has already asked insurers for quick registration and disposal of claims for any one affected by these floods. The claim related documentation process is more or less similar for most insurance companies. Figure out what all documents you have and which ones have gone missing or are lost.
Here is how motor, life and home insurance claims may be filed with the insurance companies.
Life insurance claim
The actual requirement and the formalities may differ across insurers.
HDFC Life insurance has informed that claims requests can be submitted in two easy steps.
Step 1: One can walk into your nearest branch and ask for assistance to fill up the claim form. Alternatively, one can download it from the website - https://www.hdfclife.com/customer-service/claims
Step 2: One can submit the documents as mentioned below, along with the claim form at any of our branches. One can locate your nearest branch from the website https://www.hdfclife.com/contact-us/branch-locator
For Life claims
Only 3 documents required to submit a claim
- Death certificate issued by local government authorities/ police/ hospital
- Identity & residence proof of the nominee/ beneficiary
- Pass book copy/ cancelled cheque of the nominee/ beneficiary for bank account details
For Health claims
- Only 4 documents required to submit a claim
- Identity & residence proof of the Policy holder/nominee/ beneficiary
- Pass book copy/ cancelled cheque of the Policy Holder/nominee/ beneficiary for bank account details
- Hospital Bill and corresponding payment receipt
- Discharge card from the hospital
Extended grace period of 60 days from due date, for premium payment for policy due dates between July 15 - September 30, 2018 (Both Life & Health Policies)
Bharti AXA Life Insurance has simplified claim processing for the flood victims of Kerala and Karnataka in three steps – written intimation from the nominee along with cancelled cheque of the nominee’s bank account; death certificate from any authorised hospital or police or armed forces; and Aadhar card of the nominee. The company has also extended the existing grace period of 15 days or 30 days as applicable to 60 days for payment of premiums due during the period from 15th July 2018 to 30th September 2018 and waived off late or penalty fees on such due premium. "In view of the gravity of Kerala Floods, we have instructed our branches and officials in the state to expedite claim settlement of the families of victims with minimum paper work in the shortest possible time. If death certificate is not available, we shall accept certificate from any authorised hospital, police and armed forces certifying his/her death," said Mr. Vikas Seth, MD & CEO, Bharti AXA Life Insurance.
Under the Indian Evidence Act, in case of a missing person, the claim can be settled only after a waiting period of 7 years from the date of filing the FIR. However, in case of natural disasters like floods, this is waived off. The otherwise mandatory condition of submission of the death certificate is not taken into account. According to PTI, here's what LIC has said - "LIC will accept a certificate from any authorised government official or a proof that the claimant has received ex-gratia from government as alternate proof of death. In deserving cases, a certificate issued by the agent concerned will also suffice, subject to certain conditions or a confirmed development officer can also certify the death."
Accordingly, LIC has also done away claim investigation, irrespective of the duration of the policy. Further, in ongoing policies, it has also waived off the late fee on premium due for 30 days from the date of declaration of calamity.
Puneet Nanda, Deputy Managing Director, ICICI Prudential Life Insurance says, "To facilitate settlement of claims we have relaxed the process and will settle claims on the basis of just three basic documents. These include written intimation from the claimant to us, death certificate issued by Municipal Authorities or in the absence of this, the list of deceased issued by the armed forces, hospitals or police and an photo identity of the claimant."
Similarly, DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance Company has set up a special helpdesk to service the beneficiaries of the policyholders affected by the floods in Kerala. For the quick settlement of the claims, the company has simplified the claim documentation requirements and appointed nodal officers to oversee the claim settlement process. "The process of claim documentation has also been simplified in order to expedite the claim settlement process", said Anoop Pabby, Managing Director and CEO, DHFL Pramerica Life Insurance.
The company has issued a list of the documents required to process the claim:
- Municipal Death Certificate or Death Certified by any competent Government authority like Local Government of Kerala / Armed Forces / Government Hospitals / Police Authority
- Completely filled Death Claim Form
- Claimant ID, residence proof & bank account details to ensure claims are paid to correct beneficiary
V Viswanand, Senior Director and COO from Max Life Insurance informs, “Max Life Insurance has set up a Special Claims Helpdesk for those customers affected by the devastating flood in Kerala. We’ve set up dedicated toll free numbers as well as email IDs through which a claim can be registered. This information is uploaded on our website as well as shared on our social platforms.”
Claim Intimation requirements of Max Life Insurance are as follows:
- We will accept any evidence from Government / Designated District officials of the State Government or Hospital Authorities /Municipal Record showing death due to Flood.
- Claim Intimation Form/Claimant Statement (with Bank passbook copy or cancelled cheque of nominee/Beneficiary)
- Photo ID Proof of Nominee/Beneficiary
Edelweiss Tokio Life insurance has informed that ," We relaxed our claim settlement process and will require only minimum documentation from the claimant to resolve their request. The claimant needs to provide a filled claim form along with KYC details, bank account details (to credit the claim amount) and a death certificate issued by a municipal body or a report by police or armed forces. If the claimant is unable to furnish a filled claim form, a simple letter of request will suffice too. Edelweiss Tokio Life will settle claims in 24 hours from receipt of all required documents."
In case of claims coming under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, the insurance companies are working with the banks for expeditiously settling the claims.
Also Read: Kerala floods: Helpline numbers for insurance, emergency and districts
Motor insurance claim
First of all, do not start the engine of your car, especially if it is already standing in a waterlogged condition.
The comprehensive car insurance policy, covering both own damage and third-party liability, may not be sufficient in case of flooding, unless one is careful. The damage to the engine is covered under the basic car insurance policy, however, if the driver tries to start the engine (of the vehicle in a waterlogged condition) and damages it, the car insurance policies don't cover it. This is because the basic car insurance policy does not cover any consequential loss.
"We have instructed our nodal officers and branches in Kochi, Trivandrum, Thissur, Kotayam and Calicut to fast-track claim settlement processes in the flood-hit Kerala. We are well prepared to ensure smooth and expeditious claim settlements. We have introduced documentation waivers in support of motor claims. Survey has been waived for minor losses, if insured able to share the photos through digital media. Based on that remote survey will be done and claim shall be processed. No insistence on Registration Certificate, if it has been lost in flood and the claim shall be processed based on the soft copy available in the online portal. For claims upto 1 lakhs, we will be waiving monetary claim letter, damage certificate and letter of subrogation," said Mr Sanjeev Srinivasan, MD & CEO, Bharti AXA General Insurance. Bharti AXA General Insurance has waived off monetary claim letter, damage certificate and letter of subrogation for claims up to Rs. 1 lakh. The company has also decided to skip estimate of loss for completely submerged vehicles in Kerala and Karnataka floods and expedite claim settlement.
"Provide your insurer with the basic details like name, phone number to the insurer and they will give you the policy details. The basic details like vehicle number, registration number, mobile no. etc. can be shared with the insurer to further fetch the policy details", informs Mathur. Once the claim is registered with the insurer, wait for further instructions from the insurer as the vehicle may be towed to the nearest garage which may take some time.
Unlike in case of thefts, when property is damaged due to floods, filing an FIR is not necessary. The home insurance policy covers the losses to the structure of the house and the contents due to any specified natural and man-made calamities including flood and inundation. Register the claim with name of the policyholder, PAN, date of birth etc and furnish to the Company the extent of damage, detailed particulars of the amount of the loss or damage together with such explanations and evidence to substantiate the claim as the insurer may require. "In case of home insurance, retrieve the policy details from the insurer. The company then sends the assessor to assess the damage and accordingly the value will be derived", says Mathur.
Last week IRDAI had issued guidelines for settlement of insurance claims by Kerala flood victims. Insurers have been asked to initiate immediate steps for quick registration and disposal of claims.
IRDAI has asked insurers that if there are any death claims and death certificate is difficult to obtain on account of non-recovery of body etc, the process followed in the case of Jammu and Kashmir floods (Notification of Ministry of Home Affairs, GoI,No. 1/12/2014-VS(CRS) dated 12.09.2014) which was also followed when the Tamil Nadu floods occurred, may be considered.
Further, IRDAI is keeping a close watch on the claim settlements and asks insurers to share the progress report on the claims settled for the state of Kerala at the email ids - email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org