Sunday, June 16, 2024

Odisha train tragedy: Only small number of passengers opted for insurance cover

With only a small number of passengers of two ill-fated trains involved in the June 2 Odisha tragedy seems to have opted for the Rs 10 lakhs insurance cover by paying just Re.035 paise and now it is time for the Centre to bundle the cover with all the tickets booked through the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation Ltd’s (IRCTC) online portal, said insurance professionals.

As per the initial indications, only a small number of passengers of the two passenger trains have opted for the travel accident insurance cover while booking through the IRCTC portal.

Replying to a list of questions sent to SBI General Insurance’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Kishore Kumar Poludasu, a company spokesperson told IANS: “As per data available, SBI General has covered 351 passengers.”

According to the SBI General Insurance official, a few claims for injury have been lodged with the company by the passengers of the two trains.

On the other hand, Roopam Asthana, Wholetime Director and CEO of Liberty General Insurance did not respond to the questions sent to him by IANS.

In that tragic accident, 288 passengers were killed and more than 1,000 others injured.

The IRCTC has selected SBI General Insurance and Liberty General Insurance to offer the travel accident insurance cover.

Those who reserveed tickets through IRCTC booking portal can opt for accident insurance for Rs 10 lakhs by paying a paltry premium of Re 0.35 paise.

The policy covers death/disabilities/medical expenses due to a train accident during the travel.

Both the companies declined to answer as to how the number of policies are divided between the two insurers when the tickets are booked.

Similarly the top officials of the two companies remained silent when queried about covering all the passengers which in turn would bring down the premium amount.

An industry official said the two insurers get an equal number of policies while the passengers book their tickets through the IRCTC portal. However, the number of passengers covered under a policy/ticket would differ.

“Even though they would like to have an insurance cover, not many passengers while booking a Tatkal train ticket on the IRCTC portal will be inclined to click on the insurance cover box as their main goal to reserve a ticket as every second counts during that time,” the insurance official said.

Further if all the train passengers are offered the travel insurance cover then the premium amount will further come down from 35 paise.

According to IRCTC’s regulatory filing of investor call transcript, during the last quarter of FY23, a total number of 10.44 crore tickets have been booked and 14.54 crores passengers have been booked on these tickets.

For the entire FY23, IRCTC had earned Rs.802 crore revenue from the internet ticketing service.

A total of 43 crore tickets were booked on IRCTC portal, the company said.

And in the last quarter of FY23, the convenience fee that IRCTC had earned was nearly Rs197 crore.

When the insurance scheme was started in 2016, the premium was 0.92 paise per passenger with Shriram General Insurance Company Ltd, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Ltd, and Royal Sundaram General Insurance Co. Ltd being the insurers.

(Venkatachari Jagannathan can be reached at v.jagannathan@ians.in)

20230608-151005

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