Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI), the apex body for public transport in India representing private passenger transport operators, has sought extension of vehicle insurance validity.
Operators attached to BOCI run 17 lakh buses in various segments and accounts for 30 crore passenger trips, amounting to more than 80% of public transport in the country.
BOCI is seeking regulatory Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDA) and government intervention for extension of vehicle insurance validity. Public transport sector has been one of the worst hit with the lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.
BOCI has reached out to various state governments and has also the Ministry of Road Transport and Ministry of Finance to draw their attention on the plight of the public transport sector.
Operators says the vehicles have been grounded since lockdown therefore third-party damage is ruled out. Since a major part of the premium amount is paid towards third-party damage, the insurance companies should increase validity equal to the number of lockdown days.
The Indian government has recently announced extension of validity date of motor vehicle documents up to September 30, 2020. These include documents such as validity of fitness, permit (all types), driving license, registration or any other concerned documents.
This is the second time the government has extended this validity due to lockdown. However, the government has not addressed the vehicle insurance validity for comprehensive and third-party policy covers.
Prasanna Patwardhan, President, Bus & Car Operators Confederation of India (BOCI) said, “The public transport operators are on the verge of bankruptcy in the current situation. We are under pressure from multiple sides, fuel price hikes, reduced capacity due to social distancing norms, loan EMIs, taxes and insurance premiums and much more.”
The ongoing financial burden without revenue in the past quarter has pushed the industry on the brink of collapse. We urge the IRDA and the Government of India to extend vehicle insurance validity equal to the number of lockdown days without additional premium and no increase in annual premium for next one year.
In India where the majority of the populace depends on public transport for their commute, survival of the sector is imperative. The operators shutting down operations may have a serious ripple effect on public life and livelihood of millions of families who depend on the sector for their survival.
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