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Cyclone damage: Settle cash claims within 2 weeks, CMA tells insurers


MUSCAT, Oct 16

PROMPT ACTION: Insurance firms urged to waive need for ROP report as a prerequisite for opening claim files

The Capital Market Authority (CMA), which regulates the insurance sector in the Sultanate, has directed insurance companies to take steps to ensure the speedy settlement of claims arising out of Cyclone Shaheen’s devastating sweep of parts of north Oman earlier this month.

In a circular on Thursday, the Authority instructed insurers to promptly settle cash claims raised by the cyclone-affected policyholders within 14 days from the date of the assessment of the damage.

“Within the national efforts to deal with the impact of the tropical cyclone Shaheen, the Capital Market Authority instructed the insurance companies to take specific procedures to ease and speed up the settlement of the claims of policyholders who incurred damage due to the tropical cyclone Shaheen in coordination with the Ministerial Committee for assessment of the damage caused by the cyclone,” the Authority stated.

In other guidelines, the Authority exhorted the insurance firms to depute additional staff and resources towards the handling of claims, assessment of damage and claims settlement.

Orders for repairs of damaged insured vehicles and other property should be issued not later than seven days from the date of the survey, it further warned.

To ensure speedy action in the processing and disposal of insurance claims, the Authority called on insurance firms to open multiple channels through their offices and branches, as well as introduce digital channels, to receive claims.

It also urged insurers to exercise flexibility in the processing of claims, without insisting on reports from the Royal Oman Police, in order to open claim files on behalf of policyholders.

Furthermore, any applicable charges for processing claims should not be levied upfront, but may be deducted at the time of settlement of the compensation amount, it claim charges upfront but deduct them at the time of compensation,” it noted.

Seeking to allay concerns that insurance coverage for flood damage will only be extended to those with Storm – Tempest – Flood (STF) cover, the Authority stated: “Insurance companies are obliged to provide cover for the perils and losses incurred by policyholders as means for tackling the impact of the expected perils to protect their properties as per each insurance policy.

The CMA emphasises that the standard motor vehicles insurance policy covers natural calamities in the comprehensive insurance as basic benefit and as optional benefit in third party insurance policies.”

Leading insurance firms – both conventional and Islamic Takaful – began mobilizing soon after the storm on October 4, 2021 to tackle an expected tide of insurance claims stemming from the destruction caused by Shaheen.

Besides submerging potentially thousands of cars and ravaging small businesses and residential homes, floodwaters unleashed by the storm also destroyed livestock, farm projects and fishing boats, while also disrupting essential services.

Many leading firms pledged to set up mobile offices and kiosks in the affected wilayats of North and South Al Batinah – the worst affected governorates – for the convenience of the cyclone-impacted communities.

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