The head of the IRDAI has given several pointers to insurance companies about settling crop loss claims of farmers to ensure timely payouts.
According to a report by Indo-Asian News Service, IRDAI chairman Subhash Chandra Khuntia said, "Insurance companies should set up call centres to answer queries of farmers without delay and settle their claims soon." Insurance companies should work towards settlement of crop insurance claims within 30 days, as with other general insurance business, he said.
He was speaking at the first National Review Conference on Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) last week. PMFBY, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in February 2016, is the state-sponsored crop insurance scheme, providing financial support to millions of farmers across the country.
With about 50% of the country's workforce employed in the agriculture sector, there is a need to strengthen the redress mechanism of the crop insurance scheme, Mr Khuntia said. "Insurance companies, state governments and banks should appoint staff to create awareness about the scheme among small and medium farmers to utilise its benefits," he stressed.
Crop-cutting experiments to estimate the yield of crops must be held by the insurance companies in a fair and transparent manner, he added.
Mr Khuntia also said that the cut-off dates for the drop insurance schemes should be announced well in advance so that farmers can take advantage of the plans.
"Central and state governments should jointly implement the scheme and alert farmers about adverse weather conditions to reduce the risk," the IRDAI chief said.
Agriculture Department secretary of Karntaka State Mr M Maheshwar Rao pointed out that insurers should appoint a person in each district for farmers to reach them easily.
The review was held at a time when the number of subscribers beneficiaries under the PMFBY fell by 8m, decreasing from 57m to 49m, between FY2017 and FY2018 in the country.