With the issue of policies, occurrence of loss and the resultant claim, was felt the need for persons who could examine the claims and determine the amount to be paid to the insured as reimbursement towards the loss. Such persons in India are known as 'Insurance Surveyors'.
In the early stages in UK, members of the clergy and the local worthies used to certify the occurrence, the genuineness and the quantum of loss.
However, with the spread of insurance business, both geographically and in terms of the interests and the risks covered, the insurers started employing independent surveyors, who specialized in different branches of insurance
claims. This marked the beginning of a 'professional' surveyor or loss assessor.
Though insurance companies had been engaging the services of an independent professional surveyor for assessment of loss arising out of claims, it was only in 1968 that the surveyor was given statutory recognition by referring to him in section 64 UM , part II of the
Insurance (Amendment) Act,1968. Section 64 UM deals with the "Licensing of Surveyors & Loss Assessors".
With the passage of this Act, it is mandatory for a person intending to act as a surveyor to obtain a license from the controller of Insurance, Ministry of Finance, Govt. of India. This license is valid for a period of 5 years at a time, and is to be renewed after the expiry of every term. The surveyor should be a qualified
Engineer, a chartered accountant, a diploma holder in Insurance or any similar equivalent qualification recognized by the Government.
The Act requires the Insurance Companies to refer all claims of loss exceeding Rs 20,000/- to an approved Surveyor & Loss Assessor, and obtain his report on the loss. The surveyors are paid 'professional fee' for each assignment by the insurers as per the schedule.
The surveyors' reports are not binding on the insurance companies, but, by and large, the assessment made by the surveyors are accepted by them.
Functions of a surveyor :
The surveyor is appointed by the Insurance companies for his professional knowledge and expertise, to examine a claim and submit his report. He is required to,
ascertain the occurrence of loss.
investigate and confirm the cause of loss.
advise the insured regarding minimization of loss.
assess the quantum of loss.
determine the liability of the insurers within the framework of the policy conditions.
negotiate with the Insured/advise the Insurers regarding the disposal of salvage.
Though the surveyor is appointed by the insurance companies, he is required to be impartial and objective in his assessment,
favoring neither the insurers nor the Insured, who are the two parties to the contract under a policy. This necessitates a high degree of professionalism in individual surveyors; It is to promote this professionalism that the Institute of Insurance Surveyors & Adjusters was established in 1960.