Insurance companies have been inundated with claims for damage caused to their houses by the recent devastating tremors. According to the Insurance Board (IB), the insurers have received more than 12,000 claims in the three weeks since the Great Earthquake on April 25.
“The number of claims doubled in the last one week compared to the previous two weeks, and the figure is expected to swell massively as the country was hit by another powerful tremor on May 12,” said Raju Raman Paudel, director at the board. “However, the companies have settled very few of the claims as of now,” he added.
Earlier, the IB had directed insurance companies to settle insurance claims on the basis of the preliminary reports submitted by surveyors citing the need to provide immediate compensation to earthquake victims. The IB has mobilised monitoring teams to inspect the settlement of claims by the insurers. However, the insurance companies have so far paid compensation for very few cases. There are altogether 26 insurers in the country out of which nine are life insurance companies and the rest non-life. As per the regulator, each of the insurers has settled only eight to 10 claims. Most of the insurance amounts paid are related to vehicles and accidents.
Of the total claims, about 80 percent are related to property damage, insurers said. A few are related to life insurance. Paudel said they had asked insurance companies to provide the details of earthquake-related claims by Tuesday.
The earthquake has damaged more than 700,000 residential houses. The devastating 7.9 magnitude earthquake and the aftershocks that followed have claimed more than 8,500 lives. According to the insurers, most of the homes in the housing colonies and apartment buildings are insured. Similarly, the homeowners who have taken home loans from banks and financial institution have insured their properties.
Dipesh Shrestha, head of the claims department at Prudential Insurance, said they had settled only four-five claims related to vehicles damaged by the quake so far. The company has received 600 claims, 80 percent of which are related to property damage. There is also a large number of claims related to damage caused to commercial goods. According to Shrestha, the company has mobilised 60-70 surveyors to assess property damage.
Likewise, Rabindra Raj Shrestha, head of claims at Everest Insurance, said the company had received 115 claims so far. “We are trying our best to settle them at the earliest,” said Shrestha, adding that they had not settled any claim so far.
He said that most of the claims were related to property damage and vehicles, and that none of them was for individual houses.