The accident Indore-Patna Express met on Sunday will be the first real test of the recently-launched optional travel insurance scheme for train passengers. Thanks to the scheme, the family of the insured deceased will now get Rs 10 lakh over and above other compensation announced. Railways is now mulling a proposal to make the travel insurance default for each e-ticket booked unless a passenger opts out, sources said.
By Sunday evening, representatives of three insurance companies, ICICI Lombard, Royal Sundaram and Shriram, were on their way to the mishap spot, sources in the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism corporation (IRCTC), which anchors the scheme for Railways, said. They will assess the total payout in claims, which will be in crores.
The Indore-Patna Express had on board 695 passengers (including two infants) on reserved seats. Out of them, 128 had opted for the insurance, which cost 92 paise and was paid at the time of booking e-tickets. Of the 128 passengers, 78 were in the train at the time of the accident. The remaining were to board the train later.
As per norms, those who suffer permanent disability due to the accident will get Rs 7.5 lakh each. An amount of Rs 2 lakh will be given to cover hospitalisation charges, Rs 10,000 for minor injury and Rs 5,000 for each luggage lost/damaged, for a maximum of two bags.
So far, around around 2.6 crore passengers have been insured under the scheme in the past three months, bringing in a total premium of Rs 1.82 crore.
Of this, the three insurers have received around Rs 60 lakh each. The remaining comprised Service Tax and IRCTC’s share.
“We do not earn much from this. But we want every passenger to benefit from the insurance. We aim for accident free operations, so we hope no one ever has the misfortune of receiving the insured sum, but it’s comforting to know that it is there,” IRCTC chief A K Manocha told The Indian Expess.
The company had recently run a scheme to reduce the premium to just one paisa to popularise it.
As per provisions, each deceased’s family may get around Rs 4 lakh as compensation from the Railway Claims Tribunal.
The ex-gratia from the PMO and the Railways will together come to Rs 5.5 lakh for each victim. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced Rs 5 lakh as compensation to the next of kin of each deceased, while his Madhya Pradesh counterpart Shivraj Singh Chouhan has announced Rs 2 lakh.
If the insured sum of Rs 10 lakh is added to these, each victim’s family may get around Rs 26.5 lakh as compensation — possibly the highest compensation amount the family of a deceased in train accident has ever received.
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