Hyderabad: A WhatsApp message claimed that insurance benefits up to Rs 2 lakhs for COVID-19 victims can be claimed under the Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) and the Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY).
The complete text read, "Please Note Important Notice: If someone in a close relative/friends circle has died due to COVID-19 or for any reason, ask the bank for an account statement or passbook entry from 01-04 to 31-03 of the financial year. Seeing the entry of Rs. 12/- or Rs. 330/ — mark it. Go to the bank and Claim for Insurance Rs 200000. In the Year 2015, the Government of INDIA provided Two Insurance Schemes to the Savings Account Holders of All the Banks: Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY) at Rs 330 and Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana (PMSBY) at Rs 12.2 Lakh Rupees Many of Us might have Filled this Form. The premium will also be Debited from their Account on 31/05. This is an awareness message (sic)."
The viral message is misleading as PMSBY doesn't cover COVID-related deaths, while PMJJBY covers COVID deaths within certain conditions.
1. Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana
The PMJJBY is a government-backed life insurance scheme in India that was launched in 2015. The official website stated that the scheme is "available to people in the age group of 18 to 50 years having a bank account who give their consent to join/enable auto-debit…. The life cover of Rs 2 lakhs shall be for the one-year period stretching from 1 June to 31 May and will be renewable. Risk coverage under this scheme is for Rs 2 lakh in case of death of the insured, due to any reason….. The scheme is offered by Life Insurance Corporation and all other life insurers who are willing to offer the product on similar terms with necessary approvals and tie-up with banks for this purpose".
With respect to this, LIC released a press note stating that deaths due to COVID-19 "shall be treated on par with other causes of death and payments shall be made on an urgent basis, and already death claims due to COVID-19 for 16 policies have been settled without losing any time.'
Under this scheme, COVID-19 deaths are treated equal to other causes of deaths. However, this scheme will not be applicable without a bank account or if the individual does not belong to the 18-55 age group. Furthermore, COVID-19 deaths of individuals above the age of 55 are not liable to benefit from this scheme.
2. Pradhan Mantri Suraksha Bima Yojana
The PMSBY is a government-backed accident insurance scheme in India that was launched in 2015. According to the official notice, the scheme is "available to people in the age group 18 to 70 years with a savings bank account who give their consent to join and enable auto-debit on or before 31st May for the coverage period 1 June to 31 May on an annual renewal basis." 'Under the said scheme, risk coverage available will be Rs 2 lakh for accidental death and permanent total disability and Rs 1 lakh for permanent partial disability, for a one-year period stretching from 1 June to 31 May."
According to the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI), accidental deaths are termed as "deaths resulting from bodily injury solely and independently of any other cause except illness directly resulting from, or medical or surgical treatment rendered necessary for such injury, occasions the death of the insured person within 12 months from the date of the accident."
With this, it is clear that PMSBY doesn't cover COVID-19 related deaths, while PMJJBY covers COVID deaths with certain conditions. The viral WhatsApp message is misleading. The same was also debunked by the Press Information Bureau of India.