Indians who take up LPG cylinders from any of the authorized dealers are automatically enrolled in an insurance policy that provides up to Rs. 40 lakh coverage under various headings.
India is a highly overpopulated country, and providing LPG cylinders to every household is a gargantuan task – and some things are bound to be overlooked in the entire process that gets an empty cylinder filled, inspected, assigned, transported, and installed. When dealing with tens of millions of cylinders, the margin of error increases, and when dealing with something as volatile as LPG, a small oversight could have disastrous results.
Take for example the 68 reported gas cylinder explosions/leakages that caused explosions that happened in India just last year. There was untold damage caused to life and property in these 68 instances and these were just the reported ones that made it to the mainstream media. In many cases, gas cylinder explosions and leakages go unreported, as the customer is made to believe that he/she is totally at fault, when in reality it’s the distributors and LPG companies that do not fill/secure the cylinders properly at the time of refilling and distribution.
All PSU Oil Companies have to Pay Heavy Premiums on An Insurance Policy for Their Customers
Every licensed LPG distributor in the country and their customers are covered under this policy which guaranteed benefit pay out of up to Rs.40 lakh depending on the damage and result of the investigation.
OMCs (Oil Marketing Companies) that operate as PSUs are required to take on insurance policies including Third Party Insurance cover for persons and property. This policy is called the Public Liability Policy for Oil Industries.
The policy is so demanding that the distributor itself must assist the aggrieved customer in the due process of filling out paperwork, etc. that’s required for making an insurance claim. The LPG company that provides the cylinders is bound by law to honour all such claims and requests.
It is also their obligation to inform all their customers that they do, in fact, fall under the umbrella of insurance coverage in case any damages are sustained because of a faulty cylinder. It has been widely noted that LPG companies and distributors are not informing their customers (urban or rural) about this, and are instead trying to play it off saying that the customer did not make a claim, when in fact the customer has no idea that he/she is under any kind of insurance cover. While this may be alright for urban customers who can either figure it out eventually by reading online, or may not even need the insurance cover because their private wealth can sort out any damages, it’s the rural population that suffers. LPG companies don’t inform them of any insurance cover, and if any accident does happen, the rural poor in India are left to fend for themselves, when in fact they could have received lakhs of rupees that they so desperately need.
Features of the Public Liability Policy for Oil Industries:
- Premium amounts cannot be adjusted or taken from customers.
- In the case of a claim, the amount is transferred to the Oil Company, who then remits the amount to the claimant.
- Claims can be made on account of:
- Legal liability.
- Personal accident coverage to Third Parties and damage sustained at the registered premises of the customer.
- Extent of liability for claims and the total compensation allowed for claimant’s costs and expenses incurred:
- Per event: Rs.50 lakh.
- Per person: Rs.10 lakh.
- Per year: Rs.100 crore.
- Personal accident insurance: Rs.5 lakh per person, per event, in case of demise.
- Medical expenses covered up to Rs.15 lakh per event. Should be noted that the cap is Rs.1 lakh per person.
- Immediate relief of Rs.25,000 per person, per event.
- Property damage cover of up to Rs.1 lakh per event.
How to File An LPG Gas Insurance Claim
Aggrieved customers can follow this simple process to file a claim against their LPG Gas company and receive their due coverage amount:
- If there is any issue faced during installation the customer must immediately contact the Gas company through the agent performing the installation, at the time of installation itself.
- If there is any issue faced while using the cylinder, or it is noted that the cylinder itself is expired/defective, a complaint must be raised in person or online through the LPG company’s website.
- Once a complaint has been registered, the LPG company will intimate its area office to investigate the same.
- If the damage is found to have been caused by the company’ LPG cylinder, the area office/distributor will intimate the local office, who will then officially register a claim with the insurance company.
- Applications, grievances, claims from the customer should not be sent to the insurance company directly. The LPG company will forward all claims to the insurer and take care of the benefit payout.
- When filing a claim, the customers must submit these original documents, as applicable depending on the nature of the claim:
- Death certificate(s).
- Post mortem report(s).
- Coroner’s report(s).
- Inquest report(s).
- Medical bills.
- Doctor’s prescriptions.
- Discharge card.
- Insurance company will send a surveyor to the premises where the event took place in order to assess the damages and loss.
Bharat Gas LPG Insurance
Bharatgas has an official page on its website http://my.ebharatgas.com/bharatgas/PublicLiability.jsp that informs customers about their rights and limitations of coverage.
Indane Gas LPG Insurance Policy
Indane has a page on its official website that informs customers about their rights, procedures to be followed, and the limits on coverage https://indane.co.in/transparency/insurance-policies.php.
It is to be noted that claim rejection is high in these cases as oil companies scramble to protect their own interests and their public image perception in terms of safety. If anyone you know has suffered because of LPG related incidents, do not hesitate to approach lawyers or the company itself to demand your claim.