The Government is taking into account a time limit for insurance claim filing in case of road accidents for making the compensation procedure swifter and more efficient. The General Insurance Council which is an association of 30 insurance companies, has already recommended its 1-year deadline in case of insurance claims in case of deaths from road accidents and 6 months for injuries.
Secretary General, General Insurance Council, R Chandrasekaran, stated that the Motor Vehicles Act provides for similar deadlines till the year 1994 but this was eliminated by Parliament after the Supreme Court’s observation that compensation is not to be denied whenever there is any delay in filing cases. According to him, back in the year 1994, there were solely four insurance companies although there are several private companies who have comprehensive systems for processing claims.
According to him, in a digital age where FIRs are also filed online, the consumer and police can easily work on a particular deadline which will lower overall count of claims which are forged and made many years post accidents. The Council has already submitted this aspect in front of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture in November 2017. With an increase in the number of road accidents, approximately 10 lakh accident cases are waiting for insurance claim settlements. There are roughly 6 lakh cases being added annually.
Out of the pending cases overall, around 70-75% of them cover minor injuries such as fractures and bruises where claim amounts do not exceed INR 2.5 lakhs. Claims are settled in 7-8 years on an average on account of multiple delays. The Council has also issued its recommendation that the Government implemented the provisions under law which enable the police to submit a DAR (Detailed Accident Report) copy simultaneously to the court and insurance company.
In the year 2009, Delhi High Court took note of the judgment which was passed by the Supreme Court and the police were directed to submit a DAR copy to the insurance company in question. Chandrasekaran stated that most claims in Delhi are settled in a period of 1 year as compared to 7 years in many other Indian States. According to Chandrasekaran, the courts will not have to waste much time in case the DAR is given to the insurance company and any dispute arises between the company and insurer. The Bombay and Madras High Courts have also instructed the police to do the same after the action taken by the Delhi High Court.