Chennai, March 24 (IANS) The legal heirs/nominee of a person who has taken a life insurance policy and has disappeared without any trace have to wait for seven years to make a claim for the insurance money, insurance officials said Monday.
"As per Indian law (Indian Evidence Act) a person is presumed dead only after seven years of being reported missing," S. Hemalapathi, head-claims, IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Ltd, told IANS.
Queried about the claims procedures to be followed by legal heir(s) of passengers in the lost Malaysian Airlines plane MH370, she said: "Based on the missing list provided, the nominee/legal heirs can apply for a death certificate. The process of issuing a death certificate would be simplified and on receipt of the death certificate and an indemnity bond, we would settle the claim within 24 hours."
In the case of accidents, the death certificate has to be issued by the local authority where the accident happened, she added.
However, the legal heir(s)/nominee(s) have to keep alive the life insurance policy on the life of the missing person by paying the premium regularly till the latter is officially pronounced dead.
"The airlines have to issue a certificate that so-and-so was on the ill-fated flight. In India, problem arises in the case of train accidents when a person travels on another person's ticket. The railways will not be able to issue a certificate that the dead person was a bona fide ticket holder," R. Ramakrishnan, a member of the Malhotra Committee on Insurance Reforms and former executive director at Life Insurance Corporation of India told IANS.
The Malaysian Airlines' flight MH370, which went missing March 8, had five Indians on board.
Insurance officials told IANS the claims procedures would be simplified in the case of any catastrophic events like earthquake, floods, tsunami and others.
Meanwhile, according to reports the Malaysian Airlines have started receiving compensation from its lead insurer Allianz of Germany for its lost plane MH370.