No separate cover for terror victims: insurance firms

August 6th, 2008 - 4:44 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Narendra Modi
By P.S. Anantharaman
Gandhinagar, Aug 6 (IANS) Both public and private sector general insurance players have declined to offer any separate policy cover to compensate terror victims in case of death or disability. The Gujarat government had proposed such an initiative at a high level meeting between its officials and representatives of insurance companies Tuesday.

The government had proposed that insurance companies consider formulating a special policy to cover terror attacks and pay compensation to the affected people as a “social security” measure.

“Our response to the state’s request was that insurance companies cannot pay compensation to anyone unless a policy is bought and a premium is paid,” M.K. Ravindran, head of the Ahmedabad regional office of public sector National Insurance Company, told IANS Wednesday.

“We further pointed out that the kind of situation the state government is talking about is already covered under personal accident and householders’ policies. There is, therefore, no possibility of coming out with a separate policy for this,” he said.

Representatives of private sector insurance companies took a similar stance on the proposal at the meeting, he added.

C.N. Sreekumar, regional manager of United India Assurance, said that the kind of policy the state government wanted was possible only “if a premium is paid”.

When asked whether offering such a product required a policy decision at the central level, he said the state government too could initiate such moves but what was essential was that “a premium has to be paid”.

K. Kamal Singh, chief regional manager of New India Assurance Company, said terror cover is already being provided to people and a large number of people are taking advantage of it.

Both Singh and Sreekumar said no special surge in business has been noticed because of blasts in Ahmedabad last month. “People have been taking policies which provided them with cover against terror attacks. It is business as usual.”

Sreekumar added that 40 million people are covered under the company’s personal accident policies which extend to them compensation in case of terror attacks.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi had announced a compensation of Rs.500,000 for those killed in the terror attacks and Rs.50,000 for the injured.

He had also announced that the state would meet the entire expenses incurred by the injured on their treatment while in hospital.

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