Coronavirus insurance claims worth Rs 11.5 billion yet to be settled

Published On: January 19, 2022 01:44 PM NPT By: RUDRA KHADKA

KATHMANDU, Jan 19: Over a hundred thousand people are deprived of payment for COVID-19 insurance claims in the country. The dispute between the insurance companies, the Insurance Board, and the Ministry of Finance is the reason behind the delay in settling the insurance claims. 

Rajan Dangol from Ason, Kathmandu, is agitated over the delay in payment of corona insurance claims. “There are no laws, rules, and regulations in this country. I went to the insurance company to claim the money after testing positive for COVID-19. However, each department tried to evade my demands by pointing fingers at each other and I was left with no option but to pay for my treatment myself,” Dangol informed Republica. 

Insurance companies have been claiming that it is the responsibility of the finance ministry to pay the COVID-19 insurance claim amount as per the agreement reached. Meanwhile, the ministry has been making various excuses, further delaying the insurance claims, to be received by the public. 

According to the insurance committee, as much as Rs 11.43 billion in insurance claims is yet to be paid to the public. So far, only about Rs 4.81 billion has been paid against insurance claims. About 1.5 million insurance policies were sold under the ‘Corona insurance policy’. 

While Rs 3 billion was paid through the insurance pool, Rs 1.31 billion was paid by insurance companies. Insurance Board officials say the government is the only one left to pay the corona insurance claims.

The Corona insurance, which started in April 2020 after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal, expired in mid-July 2021. In a period of one year, non-life insurance companies had sold 1,758,343 COVID policies. A premium of Rs 1.5 billion was collected from the sale of these insurance policies. Out of which, 958,198 insurance policies were sold with government premium grants. 

Due to the initiative, the then government even earned applause from the public. However, now that the same government is not in power and the current government has not paid any heed to the issue, complaints from the people have increased.

The COVID Insurance Directive stipulates that the insurance company is liable to pay up to Rs 1 billion, the reinsurance company Rs 1 to 2 billion, the company’s catastrophe fund Rs 2 billion to 2.5 billion, and the Insurance Board Rs 2.5 billion to Rs 3.5 billion. The guidelines state that the government will have the liability to pay for more than Rs 3.5 billion. 

An official of the Insurance Board said that the current problem has arisen due to the fact that those who were in the government at that time did not know that the wave of the coronavirus would rise so much in the country. “The corona insurance policy was a good initiative taken by the then government for the benefit of the people. However, the main problem is the non-implementation of the agreement,” he said. As per the agreement, the Insurance Board, insurance companies, and reinsurance companies have already fulfilled their responsibilities. 

Similarly, a large number of the people deprived of corona insurance claims are government officials as well.  

CEOs of insurance companies say that if the government does not pay the claims as per the agreement on time, the problem will get worse and this will lead to a negative attitude toward insurance.


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