NCOC mulls over post lockdown

-Seeks to effectively implement Ramazan SOPs

By Shakeel Ahmed

ISLAMABAD: National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) on Monday mulled over post May 9 lockdown status and the implementation mechanism for Ramazan standard operating procedures (SOPs) devised by the provinces.
The NCOC, which met with Minister for Planning Development Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar took all provincial representatives on board to discuss preparations related to religious congregations during the last span of Ramazan.
Speaking on the occasion Asad Umar said the first three days of relaxing the lockdown were critical where the provinces should ensure strict compliance of SOPs as any leniency and complacency would spoil the purpose of the measures taken to contain COVID-19.
All chief secretaries of the provinces including Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan including Chief Commissioner Islamabad Capital Territory joined the conference through video link. Minister for Interior Brig (R) Minister Ejaz Ahmed Shah, Minister for Industries Production Hammad Azhar, Minister for National Food Security Syed Fakhar Imam, Minister for Economic Affairs Khusroo Bakhtiar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) on Health Dr Zafar Mirza, SAPM on National Security Dr Moeed Yusuf, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Textile and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood and others attended the meeting.
Meanwhile, The Securities and Exchange Commission (SECP) to facilitate insurance policyholders in current challenging times has asked insurance companies to waive non-mandatory requirements for claims processing. SECP has also advised insurers to use alternative methods for verifying the authenticity of claims.
The outbreak of COVID-19 has posed unprecedented challenges to businesses across the country. The SECP has been continuously taking measures to extend every possible relief and facilitation to companies and persons connected therewith being investors, borrowers or policyholders.
To facilitate policyholders, the SECP has asked companies to consider extension in grace period of payment of renewal premiums under insurance policies.
Moreover, insurers have been encouraged to utilize digital or online payment modes for receipt of insurance premium and disbursement of claim payments, utilize electronic mediums such as SMS, emails, mobile applications, online portals etc. for claims handling, delivery of policy documents and issuance of pre-authorizations for treatment in hospitals.
Furthermore, taking into account the anticipated low claim ratio in motor insurance business due to lockdown, the SECP has recommended insurance companies to pass on the benefit of low claim ratio to motor insurance policyholders by granting one month free of cost extension in insurance coverage to all motor insurance policyholders.
Likewise, to provide ease of doing business, SECP has relaxed the license renewal requirements for insurance brokers, insurance surveyors, and authorised surveying officers (ASO’s) by introducing a relaxation period of two months starting from March 15, 2020 to May 15, 2020. Insurance brokers/insurance surveyors/ ASOs whose license have expired or might expire during this period would be able to continue to carry on their business without renewal. The SECP has also granted exemption to insurers from the application of IFRS 16 (Leases) to the extent of their regulatory returns only till the period ended June 30, 2020.
SECP strongly believes that such measures will facilitate insurance industry and policyholders in coping with the disruption caused by COVID-19 pandemic and shall strengthen the confidence of policyholders in the insurance sector.