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The National Insurance Trust Fund (NITF) said that the biggest area of concern they faced was with regard to the delays involving the assessment process, especially when dealing with large scale disasters.

The NITF is an insurance company of sorts which comes under the Ministry of National Policies and Economic Affairs. The Treasury pays the NITF a premium and the NITF then funds the payment of claims of and for compensation.

Meanwhile, Chairman of the NITF, Manjula De Silva said that the total compensation to be paid for those affected by the floods in 2016 May would amount to Rs 3.5 billion to Rs 3.8 billion as per the estimate, out of which Rs 2.5 billion has already been paid. Various parts of the country were affected but Kolonnawa was the worst hit. Some claims have come in late, and therefore the payment of compensation has yet to be completed. Thus far, 50,000 claims have been paid in relation to the floods. The NITF’s insurance scheme is to, whilst being within their limits make a contribution towards the victims of the Meethotamulla tragedy as there was also a weather related component to the otherwise man-made disaster created by the garbage mountain.

The NITF also has the cover of international reinsurance, which is an effective mechanism which allows the NITF to recover their liabilities up to a certain limit.

“The major issue is that the assessment process takes time. The grama sevaka, technical officers of the divisional secretariats and the district administration including the district secretariats conduct the evaluation via house to house assessments. We have our own process of checking. The district secretaries sign the assessments and claims and send them to the Ministry of Disaster Management. The Ministry in turn sends them to us. It was only in February and March this year that we received the claims with regard to the 2016 May floods. This is the delay, which is one area of concern. We have to train them to do the assessment faster and expedite the process,” De Silva added.