Insurers become more efficient in settlement of travel claims

Non-life insurance companies are witnessing rise in claim settlement within one month of claim registration for overseas travel insurance policies. Out of the total 4,602 claims settled by seven general insurers in the April–June quarter of the financial year 2012-13 (Q1FY13), 47.9 per cent, or 2,205 claims were settled within one month. In the same period last year, these insurers settled 5,796 claims, out of which 43.7 per cent, or 2,535 claims were settled within one month.

These insurers settled 48.5 per cent, or 2,768 claims out of the total 5,703 claims within one month in the January–March quarter of FY12 (Q4FY12).

They settled 32 per cent, or 1,466 claims out of their total claims beyond one month but within three month of claim registration in Q1FY13. In the same period last year, these insurers settled 33.5 per cent or 1,939 claims beyond one month but within three month of claim registration. In Q4FY12, out of the total claims settled, 20.7 per cent, or 1,182 claims were settled beyond one month but within three month of claim registration.

Similarly, 20.2 per cent, or 931 claim settlements took more than three month but less than one year in Q1FY13, compared with 22.8 per cent, or 1,322 claim settlements in same period last year. However, insurers took more than three month but less than one year to settle 30.7 per cent, or 1,753 claims out of the total settled claims in Q4FY12.

The insurers that were considered for the analysis are ICICI Lombard General Insurance, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, HDFC Ergo General Insurance, Reliance General Insurance, Tata AIG General Insurance, The Oriental Insurance and Cholamandalam MS General Insurance.

Travel insurance policies generally cover policyholders against any medical emergency, accidents, loss of baggage, loss of travel documents including passport and accidental loss to any third party.

While for medical and accident emergencies, insurers require hospitalisation documents and bills, for any other type of loss, they ask for police report.

“If a policyholder is travelling for a long duration then document completion is delayed till he returns to the country, which delays the claim settlement process as well. However, in case of hospitalisation, claims are settled on cashless basis in co-ordination with third-party administrators (TPAs),” said Sanjay Datta, head of underwriting and claims at ICICI Lombard General Insurance.

HDFC Ergo settled highest number of claims within one month as a proportion of the total claims settled in Q1FY13. Out of the total 1,727 settled claims, 68 per cent, or 1,176 claims were settled within one month. Tata AIG settled 44.2 per cent, or 508 claims out of the total 1,150 claims within one month.

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance settled 42.7 per cent, or 406 claims out of the total 950 claims within one month.

Reliance General took more than three month but less than one year in settling 52.5 per cent, or 31 claims out of the total 59 settled claims in Q1FY13. ICICI Lombard also took more than three month but less than one year in settling 45.8 per cent, or 313 claims out of the total 683 claims.

Insurers do not disclose total premium collection from travel insurance, as it generally does not form 5 per cent of total premium collected by them.