Cyclone Fani aftermath: Insurance claims may cross Rs 2,000 crore

The after-effects of Cyclone Fani is still being felt in Odisha four-days after it made landfall on May 3 with several areas reporting severe damage to land and property. Insurers said losses have already touched Rs 2,000 crore with majority of claims coming in from crop and property insurance holders.

“We are still assessing the damage. However, initial reports peg the losses around Rs 2,000 crore. This could well be revised upwards since several claims of property destruction are coming up,” said the claims head at a mid-sized private life insurer.

A single-point helpline will soon be set up by individual insurance companies to ensure that claims are filed on one single platform. Nodal officials will also be deployed to Odisha for this process.

More than 500 building structures and over 300 factories including those of core manufacturing companies are said to have been destroyed by the impact of Cyclone Fani. The Odisha Airport also saw structural damage due to wind speeds of over 200 km per hour.

Insurance companies are in the process of deploying surveyors to Odisha to assess damage to the properties insured. Crop damage will be assessed using satellites and drones. This will be cross-checked with the information provided by farmers.

There will also be a process of simplification of the claims settlement process. Till date, 35 people have died from the impact of Cyclone Fani.

Last year, insurance companies received claims of about Rs 3,200 crore from the Kerala floods. Here, a majority of claims were from the motor insurance segment since several cars/bikes were submerged in water for days on end after incessant rains lashed the state in July and August 2018.

Insurance claims from natural catastrophes have seen a big jump. In the past five years, cyclones including Hudhud and Phailin as well as flash floods in Uttarakhand have led to almost Rs 17,000 crore in insurance claims.

Claims from global natural catastrophes in 2018 were pegged at $76 billion, according to the Swiss Re sigma report. The combined insurance losses from natural disasters in 2017 and 2018 were $219 billion, the highest-ever for a two-year period.