The News Scroll 15 September 2020  Last Updated at 5:42 pm | Source: PTI

Insurance premium rise for advocates on demographic profile change, NIAC tells HC

Insurance premium rise for advocates on demographic profile change, NIAC tells HC
New Delhi, Sep 15 (PTI) The New India Assurance Company (NIAC) Ltd told the Delhi High Court on Tuesday that the increase in premiums quoted by it last year, for mediclaim policies for lawyers under the Chief Minister''s Advocates'' Welfare Scheme, was in view of the COVID pandemic and the change in demographic profile of the applicants since November 2019.

According to the demographic profile given to it, the percentage of younger people (below 35 years of age) has gone down and the percentage of older persons has increased, affecting the premium, NIAC said.

It further told the court that the prevailing conditions, like the COVID pandemic, would affect the premiums quoted.

These submissions were made before Justice Prathiba M Singh who had on August 28 expressed concerns over the "steep" rise in the premiums for the insurance and mediclaim policies to be provided by Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and NIAC under the scheme.

The court had expressed the concern after perusing a Delhi government status report which showed that after the opening of the financial bids for the policies, the insurance companies have substantially increased the amount of premium and reneged on their quotations given in November and December last year.

Delhi government, represented by its additional standing counsel Satyakam, has filed another status report on September 14 in which it has said that the budget earmarked by it for providing Group (term) life insurance to 40,115 lawyers was Rs 10.07 crore, but LIC was willing to provide cover only to 28,774 lawyers for the same amount.

The Delhi government has contended that for 28,774 lawyers the proportionate amount ought to be around Rs 7.21 crore as per the initial premium quoted by LIC.

Similarly, the budget kept for providing group (mediclaim) insurance to 40,115 lawyers was Rs 34.09 crore, but under the revised premium quote by NIAC it was willing to provide cover to 29,077 advocates for Rs 34.89 crore, the report has said.

It has also said that the terms and conditions have also been changed by NIAC and therefore, a fresh tender is required to be floated with regard to mediclaim insurance.

NIAC and LIC have contended that change in premium rates was primarily due to change in demographic profile since last year.

While the rates quoted by NIAC in November and December, 2019 for providing group mediclaim insurance was Rs 8,500 per policy, the revised rate is Rs 22,945.1.

Similarly, LIC had initially quoted a Rs-2,478 premium for providing group (term) life insurance for lawyers of up to 60 years of age. Now the average basic premium rate per policy is Rs 7,091.7.  

It further said that the matter is being placed before the Delhi Law Minister who has to decide the modalities of implementing the scheme and thereafter, it would be placed before the Finance department for approval.

After hearing the insurance companies and perusing the Delhi government status report, the court asked the Bar Council of Delhi to provide the demographic profile of all 40,115 lawyers, who were to be covered under the scheme, to the insurance companies to get fresh quotes from them and asked the Technical Evaluation Committee (TEC) to negotiate for the best possible price.

With the direction, the court listed the matter for hearing on October 7.

With regard to the eligibility of lawyers registered with BCD but living in the National Capital Region (NCR) for insurance cover under the scheme, the court said it will take up that issue separately on October 8.

According to the BCD''s plea, by a cabinet decision of December 17, 2019, the Delhi government decided to provide a medical insurance of Rs five lakh and a term insurance of Rs 10 lakh to lawyers, who are residents of the national capital, under the Chief Minister''s Advocates'' Welfare Scheme.

The petition contended that no scheme was made available in 2019-20 and even during the COVID crisis, nothing was done.

The court was also hearing a plea moved by advocate Govind Swaroop Chaturvedi, seeking a direction to extend the benefit of the scheme to all those enrolled with the BCD, whether their names appear on the voters'' list of the national capital or not.

Swaroop said he is enrolled with the BCD, has the membership of the Delhi High Court Bar Association, practises in the courts here, but does not reside in the national capital now and claimed that the notification is discriminatory, illegal and unreasonable.

The plea also says the discrimination on the basis of names on the voters'' list in Delhi is not based on any reasonableness.

The pleas have sought to quash or modify the government''s March 17 notification to the extent of deleting the eligibility condition on the basis of names on the voters'' list of Delhi, for extending the welfare benefits. PTI HMP SKV SA

Disclaimer :- This story has not been edited by Outlook staff and is auto-generated from news agency feeds. Source: PTI
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