National Insurance Company hit hard by Nepal Agni Air plane crash

Kathmandu, Aug 30 (Calcutta Tube) India’s oldest insurance company, the 103-year-old National Insurance Company Ltd (NIC), has been hit hard by last week’s plane crash in Nepal with its sole office abroad having been the insurer for all 14 people on board as well as the 15-seater Dornier aircraft.

NIC, which began its foray in Nepal nearly three decades ago and today holds about eight percent of the market in the Himalayan republic, is the insurer for the Nepali domestic airline, Agni Air, whose Lukla-bound small aircraft crashed in central Nepal Tuesday, killing all 11 passengers as well as the three-member crew.

The people on board, including six foreign tourists, had been insured for $20,000 each, NIC officials told IANS.

The aircraft was also insured with NIC for nearly NRS 10 crore. NIC had become Agni’s insurer from 2006.

A team of surveyors flew from Singapore last week to the site of the crash – Shikharpur village in Makwanpur district – and is expected to submit its report this week.

Agni Air said it had begun submitting the documents required to claim the insurance money.

However, the job has been made tough due to the difficulty in identifying the bodies.

The bodies were badly mangled and burnt beyond recognition. Army photographs showed soldiers retrieving body scraps from a rainwater inundated field.

As Nepal lacks sophisticated devices to make identifications in such cases, only the eight Nepalis on board were positively identified so far on the basis of hair, clothes and accessories.

Searchers have yet not been able to retrieve the Black Box despite a reward of NRS 50,000.

On Monday, leaflets as well as photographs of the Black Box were circulated among the villagers in the hope it would spur on the discovery.

Since the residents of the village are mostly the indigenous Tamang community, the leaflets have been written in the Tamang language to get their attention.

This is the first air crash to hit NIC in Nepal. Last year, the Indian company had posted a profit of NRS 10 crore.

NIC currently runs seven offices and two sewa kendras (service centres) in Nepal to serve its 15,000 policy holders.

Two other Indian insurance companies also operate in Nepal: Oriental Insurance in the non-life sector and Life Insurance Corporation of India.

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