Odisha train accident: IRCTC walks the extra mile to facilitate insurance settlements

Says no claim can be rejected without its concurrence

June 05, 2023 10:30 pm | Updated 11:01 pm IST - CHENNAI

Locals watch a train running past the mangled coaches at the triple train mishap site where over 270 people died and more than 1000 injured, near Bahanaga Bazar in Balasore district, on June 5, 2023.

Locals watch a train running past the mangled coaches at the triple train mishap site where over 270 people died and more than 1000 injured, near Bahanaga Bazar in Balasore district, on June 5, 2023. | Photo Credit: PTI

The Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) has shared the details of victims who died or suffered injuries in the Odisha train accident on June 2 to two insurance companies to facilitate them to process claims.

Passengers of the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express and the Yashwantpur-Howrah Express who booked e-tickets on the IRCTC platform and availed the default online insurance option by paying ₹0.35 as premium would be benefited.

Also read | What could have led Coromandel Express into the loop line?

Though the policy is a contractual obligation between the insurance company and the passenger and any claim/liability would be between the two, the IRCTC walked the extra mile by stepping in to facilitate the insurance settlements, railway sources said.

Confirming this to The Hindu on Monday, an IRCTC spokesperson said the two insurance companies — Liberty General Insurance Ltd. and SBI General Insurance Co. Ltd. — were advised not to reject any claim without the concurrence of the IRCTC. “We have provided all documents required to process the claims. Though opting for the insurance policy is made available by default, not all passengers avail the facility. Only 54% of the passengers who book e-tickets on IRCTC portal opt for travel insurance. The family of those who died in the accident would be entitled to get ₹10 lakh from the insurance company. Those who suffered injuries and were undergoing treatment would be compensated as per the policy conditions,” he said.

The IRCTC in its website says it only provides linkage to transact with insurance companies through its website to take insurance cover and, as such, assumes no responsibility or liability in respect of said policy, under any circumstances. The insurance scheme was applicable only for Indian nationals who have confirmed/RAC/partially confirmed tickets at the time of booking.

Also read | Odisha train accident: NDRF ends operation, withdraws all nine teams

Nomination details

The policy conditions are that after booking the ticket, the nomination details would have to be filled at the respective insurance company site. If the details are not filled, the settlement would be made with legal heirs, if the claim arises.

The coverage would be for each passenger under the PNR in case of death, permanent total disability, permanent partial disability, and hospitalisation expenses for Injury and transportation of mortal remains following the train accident or untoward incident. The optional travel insurance will not be provided for the children below five years who book the ticket without berth/seat.

Meanwhile, soon after the accident, the Life Insurance Corporation of India announced measures to ease claims of policy holders of their families who were victims. Instead of death certificates, the LIC said it would accept the list of deceased provided by the police or Railways or any any Central/State authority as proof of death and process the claims.

Settle claims soon: IRDAI

Meanwhile, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDAI) has advised life, general and standalone health insurers to take steps for expeditious settlement of all claims of victims of the Odisha accident.

There was an urgent need for the insurance industry to take immediate steps to mitigate the hardships of the affected insured by ensuring immediate registration and settlement of eligible claims, it said in a communication to heads of all the companies. Towards quick registration and disposal of claims, the regulator directed the insurers to designate a dedicated helpline respectively under the supervision of a senior officer as a nodal officer to coordinate the receipt, processing and settlement of all eligible claims. It also wanted the companies to process claims proactively if the insured persons names were in the list of deceased or injured persons and were travelling in the trains which met with the accident as identified by the appropriate/government authorities.

Besides ensuring disbursements of claim payments/on account payments at the earliest, the IRDAI requested the companies to launch extensive awareness explaining the simplified process to file a claim.

In a statement, Chairman of the General Insurance Council of India and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance MD and CEO Tapan Singhel said as an industry “we have created a dedicated helpline and digital capabilities so that it is easier for customers or their family members to reach insurers. Insurers have allocated specialised teams to expedite such claims and ensure a seamless claim process for policyholders.”

(With inputs from N. Ravikumar in Hyderabad)

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