Insurance is tourists' responsibility
An officer of Chaudhari Yatra Company in Tapdiya Terraces said that insurance is not our responsibility, but of the individuals availing our tour packages. Moreover, when we arrange their tour by train, they are insured by railways. Therefore, there is no need for us to insure travel when there are already so many insurance covers for tourists, he added refusing to disclose his name and designation.
In a shocking revelation it has come to light that travel companies engaged in arranging domestic and foreign tour packages are conveniently ignoring insurance cover of their passengers. What stuns all is that they are doing it not because of the hassles involved in it but to keep their tour packages more cost effective.
As a result, thousands of kin of pilgrims, who have lost their near and dear ones in Uttarakhand tragedy last month, are not getting even a single penny. Therefore, kin have to rely on the ex gratia amount they may receive from government and public. The rehabilitation of the affected is appearing to be a difficult task for every family as in many cases, bread winners have been killed. Insurance cover provides certain amount called as sum assured to the kin of victims. There are many public as well as private insurance companies, which have designed special short term products at marginal premium.
Special travel products
A noted insurance consultant, Pankaj Kuberkar, said that his company (LIC) has already come out with a wide range of products meant for people going for pilgrimage or travel, both domestic as well as foreign. They cover loss of baggage, extension of journey due to delay, loss of lives or permanent disability. The term of such insurance schemes varies from one week to 2 years though the premium charged is meager in amount. They keep marketing such products, but not a single travel company has approached him so far.
Another insurance consultant, Mahendra Sharma, said that his company (Bajaj-Allianz General) too offers several insurance products for special purposes like travel and pilgrimage. The amount charged towards premium is quite affordable for the common man irrespective of the sum insured. The company is swift in settling claims and said that travel companies arranging tour packages do not approach us to insure their clients.
LIC relaxes norms
The largest public insurance company Life Insurance Corporation of India has shown sensitivity towards the victims of Uttarakhand tragedy and has relaxed its norms for settling the claims. Moreover, a help desk has been set in branches to ensure quick disposal of claims. The chief manager of Adalat Road branch of LIC, Mohan Patkhedkar, said that not a single party has approached his help desk in the last 7 days.