Moon Desk: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday advised insurance companies to be cautious against “intentional damage” claims and defy any such inappropriate demands even in the face of political pressures by influential people.
“Please don’t bow down to pressure from anyone,” she said while opening the National Insurance Day-2023 at the Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the capital.
The premier said influential people like cabinet ministers and she herself might lobby for payment of undue insurance claims in cases like fire incidents.
“I myself or our cabinet colleagues may lobby. (But) you must know first the real damage (caused by the fire). They can demand a huge amount. But pay the money after conducting a proper investigation,” she said.
The premier said she feared unscrupulous insurance claim investigators often might get a share of the amount paid by insurance companies against intentional property damage.
Sheikh Hasina described her as a member of the insurance family recalling her father and Bangladesh founder Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s association with the then Alpha Insurance Company.
“I don’t want the insurance companies to earn a bad reputation as I am a member of the family,” she said.
Finance Ministry and the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority (IDRA) jointly organised the programme. The Day is being observed with the theme ‘My life, My Wealth, If Insured, It Will Be Safe (Amar Jibon, Amar Sampad, Bima Koriley, Thakbe Nirapod)’.
The prime minister said the people involved in the insurance business will have to remain a little bit cautious about the matter.
Referring to frequent fire incidents in some readymade garments factories, she said investigations revealed that some such fire incidents were intentional to demand huge money from the insurance companies as compensation.
Without mentioning the name of any factory she said that the owner of a factory gave Tk 20,000 to a female worker to set it on fire and the worker confessed it after being arrested.
The prime minister said she have recently learnt that Sadharan Bima Corporation gave Tk 40 crore as compensation for damage of a flat in a fire despite the fire basically broke out at an adjacent flat.
“I have learnt about such an incident. I will make the matter to be investigated. How much assets were in his flat that Tk 40 crore have been paid as damages claim,” she said.
The premier said the flat which had caught the fire and was damaged badly didn’t get any single penny as the flat has no insurance.
“Do you (insurance companies) have any answer in the matter,” she said.
She asked insurance companies to make grassroots people aware about the good things of insurance as the people in the upzila level are now economically capable in doing so.
Secretary of the Financial Institutions Division, Ministry of Finance, Sheikh Mohammad Salim Ullah, Chairman of the IDRA Jynul Bari and Bangladesh Insurance Association (BIA) President Sheikh Kabir Hossain, also spoke on the occasion.
A video documentary on the insurance sector was screened at the ceremony.
On March 1, 1960, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman started working at the then-Alpha Insurance Company. Therefore, the government has decided to celebrate March 1 as the National Insurance Day, every year.
The government had upgraded the “National Insurance Day ” from ‘B’ category to ‘A’ category last year commemorating the great architect of independence, greatest Bangalee of all times and Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Sheikh Hasina said her government will ensure that the vehicles can’t ply the roads without proper insurance in reply to an allegation that the law enforcers don’t take proper steps against third party insurance for cars.
“I know how the third party insurance of car hampers as I am its victim,” she said.
The prime minister raised a question about functioning of third party insurance for cars, saying how the third party insurance for cars is still operational in the country as it had already been cancelled.
She said her government has taken various timely and effective measures to make the insurance industry more developed and modern since assuming power in 2009.
Briefly spelling out steps for the development of the insurance sector, she said they have enacted Insurance Act-2010, the Insurance Development and Regulatory Authority Act-2010, Insurance Corporation Act-2019 and the National Insurance Policy-2014.
She said her government is implementing a Bangladesh Insurance Sector Development Project for modernisation of the insurance sector.
The prime minister stressed the need for complete digitisation of the insurance sector and asked all concerned to enhance the capacity of Unified Messaging Platform (UMP) to increase people’s confidence in this sector.
She said they have appointed an insurance actuary to ensure the overall development of the insurance industry in the country accordingly.
“Insurance companies have increased in the country and we’re implementing several mega projects. Insurance is necessary in every sector,” she said.
The prime minister thanked the authorities concerned for introducing health, life and crop insurances.
“You people have to go for massive publicity about the good things of insurance as the people of our country largely ignored the system,” she said.
The premier however asked all to remain cautious as the global economic recession arising out from the Covid-19 pandemic, Russia-Ukraine war, sanctions and counter sanction can not hamper Bangladesh in any way.
Briefly mentioning her government’s efforts made in the last 14 years since assuming power in 2009, she said Bangladesh has now become a developing nation and acquired dignity on the global stage.
The prime minister said they have established democracy in the country through struggles.
Bangladesh is continuously progressing ahead due to continued democratic process in the country as the Awami League had been voted to power in 2008, 2014 and 2018 general elections, she said.
She handed over a crest, certificate and three books (The Unfinished Memoirs, the Prison Diaries and New China as I Saw written by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) to the winners of the easy competitions at the school and college levels.
The premier also distributed honorary certificates to National Life Insurance and the Popular Life Insurance in the life insurance category while the Green Delta Life Insurance and Sonar Bangla Life Insurance got the award in the non-life insurance category.