LPG blast victims can claim insurance from oil company

Reports of accidents involving LPG cylinders are increasingly becoming commonplace in domestic households across the country. But, did you know that as a consumer, you can claim insurance for damages caused by LPG cylinder blasts?

According to the public liability policy (Policy No 021700/46/14/37/00000041), LPG consumers of PSU oil companies such as Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), can claim personal accident cover to the tune of Rs 5 lakh per person per event. In addition to this, they can claim Rs 15 lakh as medical expenses per event, with maximum claim of Rs 1 lakh per person. At the same time, consumers can claim Rs 1 lakh per event for damages caused to property.

However, civil society groups allege that victims often fail to claim insurance due to lack of publicity about the insurance policy by the oil PSUs.

Speaking to TOI, former secretary to the Union government, EAS Sarma said, “The insurance policy taken by oil companies is good for consumers. But the oil PSUs also need to improve awareness among the public. In fact, even though insurance cover is available, it is usually the state government that gives compensation to the victims, while oil PSUs are paying such a high insurance premium. What is the use if the public is not made aware of this provision?”

Pointing out that even gas dealers are not aware of this provision, Vistarana Mass Communication Society vice-president Korikana Sujatha Prasad said, “Victims have to fight for a long time to receive the insurance amount even if they submit their claims.”

Citing the example of a cylinder blast in Vizag in December last year, she said, “The main problem is that victims are not aware of the insurance policy. The kin of the victims were not aware of the policy, but after we briefed them about it, they filed claims and were able to get some financial relief.”

“We were able to educate the consumers because they are also from the city, but what happens in case of rural households? Who will inform them?” she added.

When TOI posed an RTI query to oil PSUs, HPCL was the only one to share data. The oil major said the number of reported LPG accidents involving HPCL cylinders has increased from 33 in 2013-14 fiscal to 68 in 2014-15 fiscal (April 2014 to January 2015). Even the fatalities due to LPG accidents has shot up from 23 to 37 during the same period while the number of injured persons has increased from 56 to 159.

However, surprisingly, the insurance payment given by HPCL to victims has reduced from Rs 38.35 lakh in 2013-14 to Rs 37.17 lakh in 2014-15.

Meanwhile, the other two oil PSUs – IOCL and BPCL – cited different reasons for not sharing information on accidents and insurance paid to victims of cylinder blasts. While IOCL said, “Details of accidents in which subsequent bursting of cylinder took place/ compensation are not maintained separately, hence the same is beyond the purview of Sec 2(f) of RTI Act 2005.” BPCL, in a three-page reply, said that a separate RTI application has to be made to a separate official.

Curated from: LPG blast victims can claim insurance from oil company

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