The floods in Sikkim have resulted in extensive damage to both residential and commercial properties, as well as infrastructure. In this regard, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has directed all general insurers and standalone health insurance companies to mobilize their resources for an immediate service response, according to an Irdai press release issued on October 18, 2023. This includes enlisting the services of surveyors, loss adjusters, and investigators to promptly settle claims arising from the havoc caused by the floods.
A cloudburst in the early hours of October 4 led to flash flood in the Teesta River, resulting in extensive destruction and claiming the lives of 40 individuals.
IRDAI has now directed insurers to immediately appoint a senior executive to the chief secretary to help with the claims process. In districts with a high volume of claims, a designated district claims service head will oversee the process.
To facilitate efficient assistance to claimants, insurers have also been asked to utilize their 24x7 helplines and establish special claims desks at the district level. These desks should have delegated claims settlement authorities to expedite the processing and settlement of claims.
Additionally, insurers have been directed to widely publicize the contact details of these officers on their websites and in the media. Policyholders have also been advised to opt for electronic communication methods whenever feasible for correspondence purposes.
“Insurers are advised to respond/assist the claimants through their 24x7 helplines, special claims desks at the district level with delegated claims settlement authorities for speedy processing and settlement of claims. Insurers have been advised to settle claim payments/on-account payments at the earliest and also encourage policyholders to use electronic communication wherever possible for correspondence,” IRDAI said in the release.
Flood Insurance: This year, the Himalayan states of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand faced devastating floods, which led to massive destruction of life and property and infrastructure. The national capital, Delhi, and its adjacent regions also faced flood after the Yamuna breached its banks.
As such, protecting your home from the destructive force of natural disasters is crucial as floods have now become very recurrent and pose a great danger to life and property. Incidentally, cities like Mumbai, Chennai, and Bengaluru have also witnessed first-hand the devastation caused by floods.
Says Gurdeep Singh Batra, national head, retail non-motor underwriting and coinsurance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance: “Acquiring a home is a major life investment, and it provides us with one of our most cherished and valuable possessions. Given its significance, it’s crucial to safeguard it from potential dangers. The unpredictable nature of natural disasters can lead to profound devastation.
Opting for a home insurance policy stands out as the most effective means of protecting your property, and the market offers a range of flexible alternatives to choose from today.”
Home Insurance Coverage: Home insurance serves as a shield against a spectrum of risks, encompassing natural calamities like earthquakes, floods, explosions, lightning, storms, and volcanic eruptions, as well as man-made hazards, such as theft, burglary, riots, and terrorism, along with accidents like fire, electrical breakdowns, and damage resulting from collisions. The three main options include building-only cover, content-only cover, and comprehensive cover. It’s advisable to choose a comprehensive cover, as it ensures protection for both the building and its contents.
Protection Against Flood Damage: Home insurance extends coverage for both partial and complete damage resulting from floods. In instances of partial damage, such as water infiltration into your property, the policy includes compensation for the affected flooring, walls, paint, and contents. The level of coverage is contingent on the sum assured and the extent of the damages incurred. In the event of the total destruction or washout of your house due to a flood, the insurance company will fund the reconstruction of the house, up to the sum insured, or, the actual cost of reconstruction, excluding the land cost.
Calculating Home Insurance Premiums: The computation of home insurance premiums is influenced by several factors, encompassing the sum assured and the extent of coverage. It is prudent to explore supplementary coverage options for enhanced protection, such as coverage for portable electronics, new-for-old coverage, and alternate accommodation. These additional features offer added security for valuable items and ensures seamless accommodation arrangements during the repair period.
Factors To Think About For Homeowners And Tenants: Home insurance needs differ based on ownership status. For individual homeowners, it is advisable to opt for comprehensive coverage that safeguards both the building and its contents. In the context of flats in apartment complexes, housing societies should secure insurance for the structure, with individual flat owners concentrating on insuring the contents. Tenants residing in apartments or standalone houses should contemplate “content-only” insurance to ensure protection for their belongings.
Considering the unpredictable nature of natural calamities, securing your home against floods and other disasters through insurance is a prudent decision. Home insurance offers financial protection and peace of mind during times of crisis. By comprehending the coverage options, exploring add-ons, and selecting the right policy, you can safeguard your home and belongings from the destructive impact of floods.