Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday emphasised the need to bring large section of the population under insurance cover. “The enormous losses due to calamities such as Chennai floods should make all the stakeholders think about the necessity to have adequate insurance coverage,” he said here.
Speaking at a function organised by the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) of the state, for distribution of loans and insurance compensation for the flood-hit, the minister said that such assistance can only be a temporary and transient measure.
“I think in the long- term, people have to be strengthened to stand up on their own. Our eventual objective is that India must become a fully insured society. Even today we are one of the lesser insured societies. Therefore, such tragedy should be taken as a challenge and we must strengthen India as a greater insured society,” he said.
The floods have affected the life of people in the districts of Chennai, Kancheepuram, Tiruvallur and Cuddalore.
The finance minister said banks and insurance companies would be actively working with various organisations and it would be over and above the assistance the central and the state governments are giving to people, to make sure that life returns to normalcy.
Jaitley said that he had a meeting with the representatives of the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and the general insurance companies and one of the objectives of the meeting was that all claims must be disposed off expeditiously within days. “All those who had the benefit of insurance policies must immediately get what they are entitled to,” he said.
Insurance companies assured the minister that they had set up around 176 centres in the four districts and all claims are being settled expeditiously. Jaitley said that if there is a dispute on claim settlement they will have an ombudsman mechanism to avoid legal remedies and get the solution easily.
Tamil Nadu finance minister O Panneerselvam has said that the state government was in the process of assessing the losses during the severe floods occurred in the districts.
He requested the Centre to exempt the victims from repaying loans for a short period and provide a loan of R5 lakh to them to purchase household materials.
The SLBC, in a recent meeting, had decided to ask for measures including moratorium of loans and restructuring, for those who have been affected by the floods, said R Koteeswaran, managing director and CEO of Indian Overseas Bank. IOB is the lead bank of SLBC Tamil Nadu. The proposals from SLBC has to get necessary approvals for implementation, he added.