RICBL suspect false claims from earthquake-insured customers

A traditional structure destroyed by the September 18 earthquake

It has been nine months since the September 18 earthquake last year, and insurance claims still pour-in at the Royal Insurance Corporation of Bhutan Ltd  (RICBL).

The insurance office is highly suspicious there could be claims which would not necessarily be from those affected.

The RICBL received 404 claims amounting to Nu 6.3 mn from Dagana, another 15 from Soe geog under Thimphu and the organization anticipates another 700 claims from Trashigang.

“We have been under tremendous pressure for not paying the claims on time but RICBL does not delay for more than a week,” said the General Manager of General Insurance Department, Wangchuk Namgyel. The delay in most of the cases was due to incomplete documents.

Two factors have led to the delay, said Sangay Dorji of the General Insurance Department. One was due to the local administration not submitting reports on time and secondly it required repeated corrections and the other was the Government not being able to refund.

An amount of Nu 61mn was recently refunded by the Government but the claims had been made long time back using their own money. The institution is still short of Nu 10mn for claims from Katsho Gewog. “Unless we have money from the government, it will be difficult to make payments on time,” he said.

The premium received from all the dzongkhags starting from January this year stands at Nu 9mn whereas the claim received in the month of June alone was Nu 20mn.

RICBL has been asked to put-up the proposal for refund after the June closing.

On the delay, the revenue officer from Dagana Dzongkhag Administration, Sonam Tshering said that it was because he is the only one handling all the claims.

He said the claims were close to being verified and sent to RICBL based on the organization’s categorization, when the Dzongkhag received another format for categorization from the Department of Disaster Management (DDM). They had to start the works all over again.

“We are still expecting more claims,” he said.

The process of verification includes Thram verification, house receipts and estimate amount.

In the case of Soe Gewog, according to Gup Kencho Dorjee, the delay was because the damage estimate report was not sent to RICBL. He said that the Dzongkhag looked into everything with the insurance claims and a report was made. The report was sent to DDM and not to RICBL. “Later when other gewogs were getting their claims and also complaining, it was already late as the report did not go to RICBL,” said Gup Kencho Dorjee.

The rural claims paid from 1 January 2012 to 28 May 2012 stands at Nu 121mn with the highest paid to Paro Dzongkhag. The claim amount paid by RICBL is Nu 4.7mn followed by Haa with Nu 3.1mn.

Payments have been made to a total of 18 dzongkhags.

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