Central Bank of India Introduces Online Claim Settlement Process after IBA Nudges Banks to Expediate Claim Settlement
Moneylife Digital Team 09 June 2021
In order to to make the claim settlement process easier and faster for dependents of its deceased customers, public sector bank (PSB) Central Bank of India on Tuesday announced that it has introduced an online process for the same. Central Bank of India is the first bank to recognise the need for an online claim submission process and enable it at a crucial time when the country is going through the  pandemic and state imposed local lock-downs. 
“Looking into the difficulties being faced by the claimants/legal heirs to visit the branch for settlement of claims, Central Bank of India has introduced a new scheme for easier and hassle free processing of deceased claims,” it said in a press release. 
The bank said claims up to Rs1 lakh or 50% of claim amount, whichever is lower will be settled in just three days upon receiving simple claim documents. 
The  bank’s customers can place requests for the claim on the bank’s toll-free number 1800221911. One can also place a request on the bank’s website www.centralbankofindia.co.in under the ‘what's new and other services’.
Please check the link here to submit a deceased claim. One can also check the status of the submitted claim on this link.
Hopefully more banks will take a cue and follow the Central Bank of India example. Many countries have acted to make life easier for people dealing with an unprecedented global emergency.
Acknowledging the problem, just yesterday, the Indian Banks Association (IBA) had advised banks to pay balance and settle claims of surviving family members of COVID-19 deceased quickly to mitigate delays and hardship. 
The IBA in coordination with the department of financial services (DFS) said that proactive measures are going to be put in place soon to expedite handling of claims. The IBA chairman said that the following measures are being sought to be rolled out on urgent basis:
1) Digital processes in place to settle claims of COVID-19 deceased accounts quickly.
2) Banks to designate grievance redressal officers to help in settlement of COVID-19 deceased accounts. 
3) Quick help by PSBs to surviving family members of COVID-19 deceased if issuance of death certificates by municipality is delayed 
4) Banks can accept death certificates issued by government/ ESI / Army / NABH accredited / registered hospitals / nursing homes or certificates issued by attending doctors / physicians/ panchayat / anganwadi workers. 
5) Banks to facilitate insurance claims if deceased had subscribed to pradhan mantri jeevan jyoti bima yojana (PMJJBY) or pradhan mantri suraksha bime yojana (PMSBY). Bank staff to be sensitised to extend full help. 
Moneylife had carried an article highlighting the ground reality which reflected how difficult and painful the entire claim process is by giving examples of how there are no standard operating procedures (SOPs) and banks are allowed to frame their own rules. Read here https://www.moneylife.in/article/zindagi-ke-baad-bhi-covid-and-the-worries-about-transmission-and-succession/63853.html
The government seems to be realising the ground reality and the pain points in the claims process in view of the recent devastating second wave of the pandemic. 
Earlier last week, the finance minister Ms Sitharaman met the heads public and private insurance companies to review the progress made under pradhan mantri garib kalyan package (PMGKP) insurance scheme. The insurance scheme includes health workers deployed in COVID-19 duty as beneficiaries.
She had also asked the insurers to expedite disbursement of pending claims under the PMJJBY during the pandemic. On delays arising due to documents being sent from states, said that a new system has been put in place whereby a simple certificate from the district magistrate (DM) and endorsed by the nodal state health authority will be sufficient to process PMGKP claims.
The FM praised the efforts of New India Assurance Co, which has been entrusted to manage the scheme. She cited the example of Ladakh where a claim was settled within 4 hours of receiving the DM certificate and encouraged the insurer to maintain a similar approach in future. 
She also directed the states to take up COVID claims of health workers on priority and make maximum use of this simplified mechanism that has been put in place.

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