College's assurance of insurance a hoax?

Published: Oct 23, 2012, 06:28 IST | Niranjan Medhekar |

MiD DAY, in a three-part series starting today, reveals how the insurance scheme initiated by Students' Welfare Department of UoP in the 90s has failed miserably

As life is full of uncertainties, getting oneself insured is a very common phenomenon practice these days. Even educational institutes are getting their students insured against accident and untimely death so that their kin get some financial support in case of an unforeseen event.

Likewsie, the University of Pune’s (UoP) started the student insurance scheme in 90s, and currently around 9 lakh students studying in 650 affiliated colleges are the beneficiaries of the plan. However, MiD DAY discovered that the scheme managed by the varsity’s Students’ Welfare Department has failed miserably.

Unfulfilled claims: Out of the 53 cases reported in the varsity, 38 were regarding death claims, while the remaining 15 of cases related to accidents. Of the total death claims, 25 were unsettled. In case of accident cases, five claims were not settled. (Belowt) Student Welfare Department’s Director Dr Pandit Shelke admitted that in many cases the colleges failed to submit the required document to the insurance company on time. Pic/Niranjan Medhekar

According to official documents of UoP, out of 53 cases of deaths and accident recorded during the last academic year, 30 cases have not be settled by the insurance companies. This happened because the university failed to file the within six months from the date of the incident.

Speaking to MiD DAY, Student Welfare Department’s Director Dr Pandit Shelke admitted that in many cases the colleges failed to submit the required document to the insurance company on time. “Out of the 25 cases that remained unsettled, in 21 cases no one has applied for the insurance claim. In the other four cases, the insurance company didn’t receive some of required documents,” he said.

When asked who’s responsible for not submitting the documents to claim the insurance amount, Dr Shelke said, “Ideally it’s responsibility of the college to take initiative and submit the documents. But in many cases neither the college, nor parents come forward to claim the amount.”

When contacted, senior officials of The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd, the financial institution with which the university had tied up, refused to comment or share any information regarding the unsettled claims.

However, a lady officer, on condition of anonymity, said that the company is in regular contact with the UoP’s Students’ Welfare Department. “We can’t share any more information with the media,” she said.

Key glitch resolved
In case of a student’s death, the key documents required while claiming the insurance amount are the FIR and post-mortem reports. However, in many cases parents refuse autopsy, and hence lose the eligibility to claim the amount. Considering this fact, the varsity has changed this norm and has excluded the post-mortem report from the list of mandatory documents.“While doing an agreement with the insurance company this year, we made it clear to them that the claim shouldn’t get rejected because of post-mortem report,” said Dr Shelke.

Money matters
During the 2011-12 academic year, the varsity had tied up with The Oriental Insurance Company Ltd and had deposited Rs 9 lakh as the annual premium. However, this year the contract was awarded to United India Insurance Company Limited and UoP paid Rs 12 lakh as the yearly premium. As per the policy, the nominee of a deceased student received Rs 1 lakh, while in case of accident, a student can get up to Rs 50,000 from the insurance company.  

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