In Cook­ing Gas-Re­lated Ac­ci­dents

You are in•ured

Consumer Voice - - Contents -

The num­ber of re­ported ac­ci­dents in­volv­ing cook­ing gas cylin­ders in­creased from 33 in 2013–14 to 68 in 2014–15 (April 2014 to Jan­uary 2015). The fa­tal­i­ties due to such ac­ci­dents shot up from 23 to 37 dur­ing the same pe­riod, while the num­ber of in­jured per­sons in­creased from 56 to 159 (in­for­ma­tion cour­tesy RTI re­ply from Hin­dus­tan Petroleum Cor­po­ra­tion Lim­ited, or HPCL). As con­sumers, how many of us are aware that we can file an in­surance claim for loss of life and prop­erty if such ac­ci­dents hap­pen? If we are not aware, whose fault is it – our own in­dif­fer­ence and ig­no­rance or some­one else's ne­glect?

Fact is, gas agen­cies mostly do not in­form con­sumers about the cover. An­other fact is: all reg­is­tered liq­uid petroleum gas (LPG) cylin­der users are in­sured against the risk of ac­ci­dents at their reg­is­tered ad­dresses. The cover is for all fam­ily mem­bers. It is an in­built cover and does not re­quire ex­tra doc­u­men­ta­tion. LPG-re­lated ac­ci­dents are cov­ered (as per fixed lim­its) un­der ‘pub­lic li­a­bil­ity pol­icy for oil in­dus­tries’. Both LPG dis­trib­u­tors and oil mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies (OMCs) take third-party li­a­bil­ity in­surance. The ex­pen­di­ture to­wards pay­ment of pre­mium for this in­surance is in­curred by them and is not sep­a­rately re­cov­ered from the con­sumer. The LPG ac­ci­dent vic­tim can claim in­surance from the com­pany and also from their dis­trib­u­tor. The third-party li­a­bil­ity pol­icy (pub­lic li­a­bil­ity pol­icy) pro­vides per­sonal ac­ci­dent cover, re­im­burses

As per cer­tain me­dia re­ports, LPG con­sumers can claim in­surance cov­er­age of up to Rs 40 lakh in case of an ac­ci­dent. This is partly true. LPG ac­ci­dent vic­tims are cov­ered for death and ac­ci­dent, true, but the in­surance cov­er­age is not as re­ported in print/so­cial me­dia. Also, oil mar­ket­ing com­pa­nies do not take any spe­cial in­surance pol­icy or cov­er­age for in­di­vid­ual LPG con­sumers. med­i­cal ex­penses, and cov­ers prop­erty dam­age at au­tho­rised cus­tomers’ reg­is­tered premises. The sum as­sured given to the ac­ci­dent vic­tims is based on per event (ac­ci­dent) and per per­son (vic­tim). In case of death, the kin have to ap­peal in the court for com­pen­sa­tion. The court de­cides the amount ac­cord­ing to the vic­tim’s age, salary and other con­di­tions.

The Ex­tent of Claims Payable

Per­sonal ac­ci­dent cover to third par­ties and cus­tomers and prop­erty dam­age at au­tho­rised cus­tomers’ reg­is­tered premises (ir­re­spec­tive of li­a­bil­ity of law) is as un­der: a) Per­sonal ac­ci­dent: Rs 500,000# per per­son per event*

b) Med­i­cal ex­penses: Rs 1,500,000 per event## (max­i­mum Rs 200,000 per per­son; im­me­di­ate re­lief up to Rs 25,000 per per­son)* c) Prop­erty dam­age: Max­i­mum Rs 100,000### per event at au­tho­rised cus­tomers’ reg­is­tered premises* #in­creased to Rs 600,000 ##in­creased to Rs 3,000,000 ###in­creased to Rs 200,000

*Cour­tesy: The United In­dia In­surance Co. Ltd (Pol­icy no. 021700/46/14/37/00000041 – rates as on 02.05.2014

The Claim Pro­ce­dure

a) The in­sured shall give im­me­di­ate no­tice of the ac­ci­dent in writ­ing to the near­est of­fice with a copy to the pol­icy-is­su­ing of­fice of the com­pany, as well as lodge forth­with a com­plaint with the po­lice.

b) The in­sured shall de­liver to the com­pany, within 14 days of the date on which the event shall have come to his knowl­edge, a de­tailed state­ment in writ­ing of the loss or dam­age, with an es­ti­mate of the in­trin­sic value of the prop­erty lost and the amount of dam­age sus­tained.

c) The in­sured shall ten­der to the com­pany all rea­son­able in­for­ma­tion, as­sis­tance and proofs in con­nec­tion with any claim here­un­der. To en­sure that your claim is not re­jected, you should use ISI-marked ac­ces­sories (lighter and gas pipe). You should also ask your gas dealer to carry out main­te­nance checks at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals.

For Griev­ance Re­dres­sal

Toll-free num­ber call cen­tre*: A com­mon toll­free num­ber, 1800 2333 555, is in place which can be ac­cessed from any­where in the coun­try. The num­ber is op­er­a­tional from 8.00 am to 8.00 pm on all days ex­cept na­tional hol­i­days.

Web-based com­plaints*: Cus­tomers can also regis­ter their com­plaints/feed­back through the com­pany’s web­site. A com­plaint reg­is­tered on the web­site au­to­mat­i­cally goes to the con­cerned of­fi­cer for fur­ther ac­tion; an email/SMS is sent to the cus­tomer on his/her reg­is­tered email

ID/cel­lu­lar phone num­ber. A re­ply is sent to the cus­tomer by the con­cerned of­fice, af­ter ex­am­i­na­tion/re­dres­sal. There is pro­vi­sion in the sys­tem to en­able the cus­tomer to view the sta­tus of the com­plaint on the web­site.

Time­lines for griev­ance re­dres­sal*: The re­spec­tive com­pany shall en­deav­our to re­spond to com­plaints, re­ceived through toll-free num­ber/web por­tal, within14 days from the date of reg­is­tra­tion ex­cept in cir­cum­stances be­yond con­trol of the cor­po­ra­tion – viz. nat­u­ral calami­ties, strikes, or sys­tem break­downs, or in cases war­rant­ing in­ves­ti­ga­tion, which may take longer to con­clude. In such cases, an in­terim re­ply would be sent.

Griev­ance cell and per­sonal hear­ing*: Cus­tomers can also regis­ter their com­plaints by post/mail to di­vi­sional man­agers, area man­agers or nodal of­fi­cers for re­spec­tive of­fices/states. The di­vi­sional/ area man­agers and the state of­fice in-charges also give per­sonal hear­ing to cus­tomers/pub­lic without prior ap­point­ment, but only on spec­i­fied time and days that are promi­nently dis­played on the no­tice boards in the re­spec­tive of­fices and also pub­li­cised through ad­ver­tise­ments pub­lished in lead­ing news­pa­pers. The de­tails of the di­vi­sional/ area man­agers/state of­fices are avail­able on the cor­po­rates’ web­sites.

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