It is often said that gadgets are an integral part of our everyday lives, but it’s actually beyond that. They are a part of our professional experience, our adventures, activities and much more which means the need to insure them is greater than ever before.
The increasingly widespread ownership of expensive personal gadgets spells an opportunity for specialist insurer’s worldwide but low take-up and predominance of home insurance shows that personal gadget insurance remains novice everywhere. The scenario in Nepal is altering, as everyday more people tend to invest in pricey mobile phones, laptops, tablets and cameras but hoping for personal gadget insurance is still pretty far-fetched.
According to the latest Management Information System (MIS) report of Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA), the reach of mobile phones is dramatically 77.92 per cent of the entire population. Under the umbrella of non-life insurance there are electronic, cash-in transit, accident, agricultural, burglary, machinery breakdown, vehicle, fire, engineering, aviation, household blanket insurance and the likes.
These high-tech gadgets of all shapes and sizes customarily come with a warranty period but guarding it from the risk of being damaged, stolen or lost after that becomes as important as protecting your own well being. According to an official at Samsung Nepal, “Personal gadget insurance is a life saver, especially for high-end gadgets. There is always a liability of accidents; and the end users would be the beneficiary as it provides security. Although, such personal gadget insurance is vital, the trend has not taken shape in Nepal.” Further adding that it is a great idea and such discussions have taken place earlier, the lack of concrete partners for proper execution has led it to waste.
The lack of such insurance policy indirectly also affects the sales of high-end mobile phones, but, on the contrary, Suraj Raj Gahak, Manager of Administration and Accounts at Shikhar Insurance, says, “Personal gadget insurance is generally not practiced in Nepal. In rare cases, when we have a tie up with a company or some sort of corporate dealing it may be a possibility but individual consumers looking for such policies will have a tough time. Personal gadget insurance is favourable for the consumers but as an insurance company the losses are high for us as fraud cases will intensify substantially.”
The gadget insurance space in Nepal can be understood as a non-existent market. Consumers bearing the brunt on the frontline believe security must be enhanced beyond the warranty period but mobile and insurance companies haven’t been able to come up with a tangible solution to it yet. Personal gadget insurance still has a long way to go and promoting a reputation for claims fairness would assist in its inception in Nepal.
A version of this article appears in print on April 25, 2016 of The Himalayan Times.