City buses uninsured, BMTC pays claims

City Top Story

As the city buses are not insured, Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) bears the burden of paying accident claims to passengers who get injured in bus accident.

Vivek Kumar M

A substantial part of BMTC’s revenue flows towards the motor accident claim cases against bus accidents, because the city’s most widely used public transport is uninsured.

A total of 259 cases of accident claims were heard at the Karnataka High Court and the Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) in 2017-18, in which BMTC was ordered to pay Rs. 11 crores as compensation to the victims of BMTC bus accidents. Around 625 cases of accident claims are still pending in the court.

BMTC’s annual report shows that it shelled out more than Rs. 3 lakh every day on an average to pay for accident claims in 2017-18. The corporation reported Rs. 217 crores loss in the same financial year.

BMTC has a fleet strength of over 6,500 buses and more than 40 lakh people travel in these buses every day. In its annual report, BMTC had stated that 293 cases of accidents involving BMTC buses were reported in 2017-18.

Chief Law Officer of BMTC, Venkatesh T, said that BMTC buses had insurance until 2012, after which the insurance company backed off, saying that it was suffering losses. Local buses are more prone to accidents. Though the accidents might be minor in most cases, the number of accidental claim cases kept increasing and the insurance company suffered losses.

He further said, “Now that the buses do not have insurance since the last seven years, we have to look after the accident claim cases and compensate the affected passengers, as per the court’s order.”

Insurance companies say that the amount of accident claim against BMTC’s buses was much higher than the premium paid by BMTC.

Ramesh, one of the agents working with United India Insurance Company Ltd. (UIIC), which provided insurance to BMTC buses till 2012, said that the company is not providing insurance to BMTC buses anymore because they were paying out more money as compensation of accident claims than what they were receiving as premium from the BMTC.

Umesh, an advocate specialized in insurance claim related cases, said, “Since no insurance companies were coming forward to provide insurance to BMTC buses, BMTC had started maintaining an internal insurance fund. The money they earlier used to pay as premium, they now deposit in that fund. But the accident claim cases are recurrent and it will negatively impact their revenue.”