Money & Banking

Cyclone Vardah: insurance claims to cross ₹350 cr

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on January 16, 2018

Nature’s fury A van damaged by a fallen tree in last week’s cyclone   -  Bijoy Ghosh

Small-scale units, warehouses, godowns and automobiles among segments that suffered heavy damage

Insurance companies reckon that they will witness claims in excess of ₹350 crore due to the damage caused by Cyclone Vardah that hit Chennai coast on December 12.

The final number of claims and the total value will be known in a couple of weeks.

Some of the major segments that suffered damage or incurred losses were small-scale units, warehouses & godowns, and automobiles.

“Still claims are pouring in from all our areas. We have so far received about 250 claims for a value of about ₹80 crore. However, we expect the total claim value to go up to ₹200 crore,” said JS Dahiya, General Manager, United India Insurance Company.

“We received claims for damages in Chennai, Puducherry and other areas. There are big losses to the tune of ₹5-7 crore. Big godowns in the coastal belts were damaged due to the uprooting of trees and falling of eletrical lines,” he added.

New India Assurance is reported to have received over 800 claims totalling ₹100 crore.

SBI General Insurance has received 200 cases for a value of about ₹40 crore. The company has gathered that the industrial belt in the northern part of Chennai suffered severe damage.

“We are expecting some more claims. This time, industry has taken a big hit as compared to automobiles. In our claims, about 90 per cent come from small units and industrialists,” Pankaj Verma, Vice President – Claims, SBI General Insurance, said.

For the fourth year in a row, general insurance companies will bear the brunt of natural calamity. Last year, it was the unprecedented Chennai floods that caused losses, while floods in Uttarakhand , Jammu and Kashmir, and the HudHud cyclone impacted them in the previous years.

During end-2015, heavy monsoon rains caused floods in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Puducherry, with Chennai, and the districts of Cuddalore and Kancheepuram among the worst hit. The total losses were estimated at over ₹10,000 crore. Insured losses were about ₹5,000 crore, making the floods the second-costliest insurance event in India, according to records.

Dahiya said the frequency of the natural disasters would force insurance firms to increase premium rates. Companies’ bottomlines have been under pressure due to losses on account of natural catastrophes.

The Centre is also working on launching an exclusive insurance cover for natural catastrophes.

Published on December 19, 2016

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