Insurance Claims of ‘Missing Persons’ in Uttarakhand Disaster
In the recent floods in Uttarakhand called as ‘Acts of God’ led to huge losses, both life and property. In fact, the number of people missing and dead toll could far exceed the number of bodies found, with the flash floods swept away or buried under the rubble many who may never be found. Many will be eventually pronounced as ‘missing’. But, in insurance parlance, filing claims for missing persons and losses suffered in natural calamities is not easy task. That’s why; here is a little help in this post, to ensure faster and easier claim settlement for the victims of Uttarakhand floods.
For missing cases, as per Section 108 of the Indian Evidence Act, presumption of death can be made only after seven years from the date the person is reported missing. After the lapse of seven years, the nominee or the legal heirs has to submit the FIR and non-traceable report issued by the police along with court order ‘presuming the person dead’ for claim settlement, along with the necessary documents.
To help the relatives of those ‘missing’ in the floods, thanks to Finance Minister P Chindmbaram who has asked the country’s largest life insurer, Life Insurance Corporation and other insurers, not to enforce the condition of seven years and settle the claims of relatives of missing persons are settled. However,he said, LIC could ask claimants in such cases to sign indemnity bonds so that the claims could be settled easy and faster. These decisions are most welcomed in cases where there is no physical proof of death; otherwise the claim settlement may take several years.
Documentation for ‘Missing’ Persons Claims’
Many life insurers including LIC, have already relaxed their claim settlement norms for Uttarakhand victims by waiving documentation and investigations. While LIC may heed to the finance minister’s directive and not enforce the seven-years condition, but private sector insurers may hasten the process only if there is government declaration about the missing being “presumed dead”. If the government announces the missing as “presumed”, the company will supersede the claim procedure and settle claims faster. Other insurers are also likely to take a compassionate view. But, it might not always be easy to get claims settled. Since dust is not cleared to settle in the hills, most companies have not received any claim. However, some have set up special cells to deal with such cases. In the meantime, the victims of ‘missing persons’ are required to submit the following documents to settle their claims.
• Claimant’s statement duly signed by the nominee or the legal heir.
• Copy of the FIR and the missing person report filed with police.
• Original policy contract document or indemnity bond
• Copy of death certificate
• Court order presuming the person as dead after the lapse of seven years.
Many life insurers have formed special teams to handle these cases on priority basis, and efforts are being made to settle claims within 72 hours. The life insurers also have come up with special helpline numbers.
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Suresh K Narula is founder and Principal Financial Planner at Prudent Financial Planners. He has earned the professional CERITIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER and got registered with SEBI as Investment Advisor. He writes on personal and financial planning
articles and got published in Dainik Bhaskar, Business Bhaskar and The Financial Planner's Guild, India. He is also a member of Financial Planner's Guild India ( An association of practicing SEBI registered Investment advisers) to create awareness about Financial Planning in general public, promote professional excellence and ensure high quality practice standards. Suresh received his an M.com from Himachal Pardesh University and an MFC from Punjab University, Chandigarh. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org