SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday warned insurance companies of freezing their bank accounts if they don’t follow the court order of paying 50 per cent of insured amount for policies above Rs.25 lakh and 95 per cent for policies below Rs.25 lakh in flood-affected State.
A division bench of J&K High Court headed by Chief Justice M M Kumar today heard the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by traders body, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), seeking directives to insurance companies to settle claims of flood affected people in Jammu and Kashmir.
After hearing the counsels of four insurance companies, High Court observed that it seems that the firms are not bothered to follow the orders passed by it.
On September 26, High Court had directed the insurance companies to pay 50 per cent of insured amount for policies above Rs.25 lakh and 95 per cent for policies below Rs.25 lakh as interim relief.
The court had observed that policy in respect of shopkeepers need to be effectively implemented.
During today’s hearing, the division bench took strong exception to “delaying tactics” of the insurance companies, saying, “If the companies don’t understand the sober language, then we have enough weapons in our armoury to make them comply with our orders. We will call the CEOs of the firms and show them the right place, where they have to go”.
Hinting at freezing the accounts of insurance companies, the court said, “If you don’t have any substantial data to prove that you are complying with the spirit of court directions, then we will freeze your accounts and appoint two senior advocates to disburse the amount to the claimants”.
According to documents submitted in the court, four insurance companies -- The National Insurance Co. Ltd, New India Assurance Co Ltd, United India Insurance Co. Ltd and Oriental India Insurance Co. Ltd had received 9,917 insurance claims worth Rs.980.49 crore till 9 October. Out of this, the insurers have processed only Rs.25.10 crore worth of claims.
After J&K High Court September 26 order, the insurance companies had moved Supreme Court to challenge the verdict. However, the apex court rejected the plea of insurance companies and upheld J&K High Court order.
The traders’ body has estimated that Jammu and Kashmir has suffered losses worth Rs one lakh crores during the floods last month. J&K government has recently sought Rs 44000 crore special package from central government for rehabilitation of flood-affected people and rebuilding damaged infrastructure in the State.