Feb 11, 2018

Missed your insurance claim for 10 years? Your insurer won't pay

Missed your insurance claim for 10 years? Your insurer won't pay
M Saraswathy
Moneycontrol News

All of us have faced upheavals at home, be it due to the death of a loved one or shifting to a different location. In between all this, very often we misplace, or forget about an insurance policy. And if you don't claim it for 10 years, it will probably be too late.

A directive by the government has stated that insurance amounts unclaimed for 10 years will now be transferred to a Senior Citizens' Welfare Fund of the Department of Economic Affairs. On one hand while insurance is still a push product, on the other hand whoever has missed out on a claim for genuine reasons may not be entitled to receive it after 10 years.

Research from across insurance companies has pointed to the fact that male members of the families are usually the decision makers when it comes to buying a new insurance policy.

However, if a death of that member occurs with no information about policies or allied claim amounts, it will now become imperative that family members dig deep to claim insurance amounts before it is taken over by other agencies.

According to insurance rules, for any death claim to be payable where dead body has not been found, a wait period of 10 years is required. Many individuals or spouses of the deceased often shift cities or change addresses. In this scenario, if the claim is not collected within the three years after death is established, the money is not payable.

Unclaimed policy amounts with details are to be clearly displayed on insurance company websites. But in some cases they are missing or seem inaccessible to the layman.

An old LIC ad where a widow successfully conducts the wedding ceremony of her daughter with the husband's death claim is a testimony to the fact that most of India depends on only one or two earning members for their livelihood. Not being paid a rightful claim could mean a financial disaster in cases where family was genuinely unaware of a pending claim.

In such cases, it is necessary that warning letters be issued or a special fund be created wherein policyholders are able to get their claims paid in a simple and efficient manner. Further, absence of original document condition could also be waived off so that the policyholder or their family can claim the amount quickly.

While policyholders are also to share the blaim as offer important KYC changes like new mobile number or address are not communicated to the insurer. To a bank, however, they do it religiously and often immediately. But there needs to be a midway to ensure that very genuine cases where there is sufficient evidence to say that amount was unclaimed due to lack of information or illiterate kin not knowing about it, some leeway needs to be given.

Trust deficit still remains a crucial issue in the industry. It is imperative to try and bridge this gap rather than drawing away from the end customer with little or no financial knowledge or adequate savings.

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