An artisan walks past the idols of Hindu elephant god Ganesh, the deity of prosperity, kept inside a workshop in Mumbai September 3, 2013. The idols will be paraded through the streets in a procession during the Ganesh Chaturthi festival, accompanied by dancing and singing. They will then be immersed in a river or the sea symbolizing a ritual send-off of Ganesh's journey towards his abode in "Kailash", while taking away with him the misfortunes of all mankind. The festival will be celebrated on September 9. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui (INDIA - Tags: SOCIETY RELIGION) - RTX135P3
With the Ganesh Chaturthi festival set to begin in Maharashtra from September 13, organisers are leaving no stone unturned to have the perfect celebration. And that includes getting enough insurance cover for their Ganesh idols and their devotees.
Sources told Moneycontrol that all the mandals (organisers) put together have taken about Rs 600 crore of insurance cover this season. This is almost a 20 percent jump as compared to last year.
The city’s richest Ganesh mandal, GSB Seva Mandal in Kings Circle, has taken a cover of Rs 264.75 crore. This includes jewellery, personal accident policy for devotees and workers, and any third party liabilities due to incidents like terrorism, earthquake among others.
The GSB idol is adorned with about 90 kg of gold.
The insurance period kicks in right from the time the jewellery is taken out of the locker, and lasts till the day it is put back. The policy will be valid till September 28.
The city’s most popular Ganesh mandal, Lalbaugcha Raja has taken an insurance of Rs 25 crore, said Mangesh Dalvi, Treasurer, Labaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav.
The amount has come down from the Rs 51 crore cover from two years ago.
Also, the Labaugcha Raja Sarvajanik Ganeshotsav organisers have discontinued the practice of taking a cover of Rs 10 crore for all the smaller mandals, which was the norm till last year.
This hasn't stopped the smaller mandals from taking an insurance cover, as said by insurance sources who spoke to Moneycontrol.
“Last year, an idol was washed away due to heavy rainfall in Mumbai. Due to that, smaller mandals have also come forward to take small-ticket covers,” said a senior official at a public sector general insurance company.
A small ticket cover would be in the range of Rs 50 lakh to Rs 1 crore.
State-owned general insurers are the dominant players in this market, though private insurers are also gaining ground by offering competitive premiums. The premium depends on the size of the cover, and usually is 1-1.5 percent of the sum assured.
Insurance is a must-have during the 10-day festivities and not just due to the fact that the idol is adorned with gold, diamond and other precious jewellery, but for the a risk of accidents from the sheer number of people visiting the Ganesh mandals on a daily basis.
For instance, around 10 lakh devotees are estimated to visit Lalbaugcha Raja mandal every day during the ten days of the festival. The insurance will protect the devotees against any mishap or untoward incidents.
Another interesting aspect is that this year, insurers have received requests to increase the term of the cover from 10 days to 15 days to protect the idol from damages during transportation.