Hydro, housing developers still awaiting settlement of quake-related insurance claims


    Over two-and-a-half years since the devastating earthquakes of 2015, a number of housing and hydropower developers are still waiting to get their claims settled from the insurance companies.

    According to data maintained by Insurance Board — the insurance sector regulator — insurance companies still have to settle 248 claims, mostly related to hydropower and apartments, that amount to Rs 3.18 billion. The claim amount translates to nearly 20 per cent of the total claims worth Rs 15.92 billion related to the quakes.

    “After facing a huge loss because of the earthquakes, now the insurance companies are delaying settlement of our claims,” a hydropower developer in Sindhupalchowk complained, seeking anonymity.

    However, Vijaya Bahadur Shah, chief executive officer of Nepal Insurance, said that insurance companies have prioritised all the cases related
    to natural calamities. “Most of the cases have been settled and settlement of a few remaining claims have been delayed because we are awaiting the surveyor’s report,” he said.

    According to the Sindhupalchowk-based developer, however, the surveyor had submitted its report to the insurance company long ago but the latter has been delaying in releasing the payment. He refused to divulge the name of the insurance company as the settlement is still pending.

    On the other hand, Shah claimed that some developers had jointly insured their property with two or more insurance firms, which has also delayed settlement of claims. “In case of apartments and hydropower projects, some developers had taken out joint insurance from multiple companies. This is also the reason for delay in settlement due to need for negotiations with all involved parties,” he informed.

    Raju Raman Paudel, director of IB, said the insurance companies have informed the board that they have been settling the claims as soon as possible. “However in some cases, they are still awaiting the surveyor’s report.”

    Non-life insurance firms had received total claims worth Rs 15.92 billion after the quakes, of which 17 companies had paid Rs 12.74 billion till first trimester (mid-July to mid-October) of the current fiscal year.

    Just after the quakes, IB had directed all insurance firms to prioritise the claim settlement related to natural
    calamities. Issuing a directive, then chairman of IB Fatta Bahadur KC had instructed insurance firms to settle the claims within a week of getting the cases registered at the companies.

    But nearly three years after the devastation, housing and hydropower developers are still struggling to recover.

    “Our works have been stalled for years,” said the developer. “Every day that goes by is adding to our loss.”

    Source : The Himalayan Times.