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Pvt cos denying farmers’ insurance claims

Statesman News Service | Chandigarh |

Over 5000 cases of claims under crop insurance are pending in Haryana as private insurance companies in the state are apparently using flimsy reasons to deny benefits to farmers.

At the 143rd State Level Bankers Committee (SLBC) Haryana held on Friday, banks informed that the private insurance companies are using “clerical mistakes” to deny the benefit of Pradhan Mantri Fasak Bima Yojna (PMFBY) to farmers.

These mistakes include misspellings in the names of the farmers and villages. “If a famer’s name is Kishan and it’s entered as Kishna in the policy documents, insurance companies are denying the benefit. The same goes for the names of the villages.

Many of the villages have different spellings for their names in Hindi, the same is being used to deny the benefit, ” a lead district manager (LDM) told The Statesman pleading anonymity.

As per the data tabled in the SLBC meeting, there are 9,84,256 farmers eligible for crop insurance under the MPFBY and the total premium collected from them stands at Rs 87.89 Crore.

Of these, 72 per cent have been covered with public sector banks covering their 98 per cent loanee farmers, private banks covering 100 per cent, regional rural banks covering 97 per cent and co-operative banks covering 31 per cent of their loanee farmers in the Rabi season for 2017-18.

As per the information, as of 10 January (2018) about 5000 cases of claims of kharif 2016 were pending for settlement due to various reasons. Following this, Haryana’s agriculture and farmer welfare department had directed the insurance companies including Reliance General Insurance Company Limited, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company and ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited to settle these cases.

These companies were told to honor genuine claims where there were just clerical mistakes done by banks. But bankers at the SLBC meeting today informed that no progress has been made till date even as farmers have been agitating ad protesting with the banks for their insurance claims.

Representatives of insurance companies assured to take up the pending cases even as bankers alleged they have been maintaining the same stand for long now without doing anything to settle the pending claims.

Addressing the meeting, the additional chief secretary (finance and planning) Raghavendra Rao warned the insurance companies that action will be taken against them if genuine claims were not settled.

Suggestions were also made to approach the Union agriculture ministry and the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA) against the insurance companies.