Questions and Answers April 2024

Questions and Answers April 2024

Question 1: I didn’t provide the required amount for filing the appeal, resulting in its dismissal by default. Can we submit the appeal again?

Answer: An appeal cannot be admitted unless the rule is followed. Since you did not deposit the required decretal amount as mandated by law, the appeal was not admitted. You can adhere to the rule and file again for admission.

Question 2: Why does the NCDRC require written arguments before the final date in the RP case?

Answer: In this procedure, parties are required to submit written arguments before verbal arguments. Moreover, the court can issue directives to file any necessary documents or information to reach a logical conclusion. Litigants, whether consumers or opposing parties, cannot dispute the authority of the court in any way.

Question 3: What action can I take if the opposing party has submitted incorrect evidence or an affidavit in court?

Answer: While advancing your case, you can refute the opposing party’s evidence by presenting your own and demonstrating its inaccuracies. You provide compelling evidence to support your position and substantiate your case. Additionally, you have the option to pursue a perjury case, which is a criminal offense, against the individual who filed the false affidavit. However, you must possess solid evidence to support your claim. Failure to do so may result in the opposing party filing a malicious prosecution case against you.

Question 4: What action can be taken regarding a builder who has not completed the project in the past 11 years, nor refunded the money, with the project not registered with RERA and no taxes submitted to the government thus far?

Answer: Following the enactment of RERA 2016, all ongoing projects were required to be registered with RERA. You can file a case before RERA with your details and request relief. Alternatively, you can approach the consumer commission, but you must choose one avenue. The court will address issues regarding non-registration with RERA or non-payment of taxes. RERA has the authority under section 18 to ensure the return of your principal amount with interest.

Examining Plastic Recycling Safety: Insights from a Critical Study

Examining Plastic Recycling Safety: Insights from a Critical Study

Examining Plastic Recycling Safety: Insights from a Critical Study

A ground-breaking study titled “Is Plastic Recycling Safe?” released by Toxics Link unveils concerning revelations about the safety of plastic recycling practices in India. Conducted by researchers from the Delhi-based environmental group, the study exposes a hazardous blend of chemicals present in products made from recycled plastic, particularly in food contact materials (FCM) and toys. These findings highlight the potential risks associated with using recycled plastic in consumer goods, underscoring broader concerns about the efficacy and safety of current recycling processes. This study sheds light on an urgent environmental issue, prompting crucial discussions and calls for action in the realm of plastic waste management.

The study, conducted from October to January 2023, tested different products made from recycled plastic, including non-branded food and drink containers and children’s toys from local markets. Lead researcher Priti Banthia Mahesh, Chief Programme Coordinator, Toxics Link, said, “With mounting concerns surrounding plastic pollution and the industry pushing for recycling as the perfect solution, it is imperative that we critically assess the safety of plastic recycling practices. Our report clearly shows that recycled plastic is not clean and maybe full of chemicals. The study offers valuable insights that can inform decision-making and drive positive change in this crucial area.”

Key Findings: Detection of Harmful Chemicals Raises Concerns

A concerning 67% of examined products were found to harbour at least one of the five chemicals scrutinized, namely phthalates, chlorinated paraffins, heavy metals, bisphenol A, and nonylphenol. These substances present diverse health hazards, including adverse effects on reproductive health and pregnancy, respiratory complications, skin ailments, and DNA impairment.

Furthermore, 86% of the toys analysed tested positive for chemical presence, with a significant portion containing two or more chemicals. Notably, rubber ducks exhibited the presence of single-chain chlorinated paraffins (338 mg/kg), cadmium (89 mg/kg), nonylphenol (522 mg/kg), as well as elevated levels of DEHP and DINP phthalates. Similarly, a mouth organ was found to contain bisphenol A (12.7 mg/kg), nonylphenol (41.1 mg/kg), and DEHP phthalate (220000 mg/kg). Additionally, a locally available Rubik’s cube was identified to contain bisphenol A, chlorinated paraffins, as well as lead and chromium.

Moreover, 67% of the food contact materials analysed were found to contain one or more chemicals. Bisphenol A was detected in masala boxes (161 mg/kg), water bottles (0.34 mg/kg), and various other food containers. Additionally, a food container primarily used for casseroles was found to contain single-chain chlorinated paraffins (111 mg/kg).

These products are commonly used in low-income communities across India, amplifying the risk of direct chemical transmission to vulnerable populations, especially children. 

The study highlights the broader issue of chemical contamination in plastic manufacturing and recycling processes. A recent technical report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) found 13,000 chemicals present in plastic; 7,000 have hazard data of which 3,200 are chemicals of concern. 

The report also sheds light on the absence of comprehensive standards and regulations governing the production of recycled plastic products. This lack of oversight allows for the proliferation of potentially hazardous materials in consumer goods, exacerbating health and environmental risks. Some of the chemicals found in the tested products have bans and restrictions in different countries.

Satish Sinha, Associate Director of Toxics Link, emphasizes the urgent need for action. “Given the mounting scientific evidence highlighting the presence of highly hazardous and toxic chemicals in recycled products, the practice of recycling plastic poses a serious threat to human health. Promoting indiscriminate plastic recycling as a waste minimization strategy is untenable,” he stated. “Instead, the focus should be on eliminating toxic chemicals from plastics.”

The publication of the report titled “Is Plastic Recycling Safe?” echoes the findings of international organizations such as the International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) and UNEP, emphasizing that chemical recycling of plastics is not a sustainable solution to the escalating plastic waste crisis. The report’s release underscores the pressing need for comprehensive reforms in plastic recycling processes, both domestically in India and globally.

Plastics have become pervasive to the extent that their widespread use, distribution, and unintended consequences signal the dawn of a new era: “The Plasticene.” This epoch reflects a time when human reliance and affinity for plastic have reached unprecedented levels. However, the Plasticene age has raised concerns as plastics infiltrate Earth’s various cycles—geological, aquatic, and atmospheric—due to their extensive production, usage, disposal, and persistent presence across the environment. The accumulation of plastic in ecosystems has engendered a global challenge of plastic pollution, posing significant cross-border threats to natural environments, human well-being, and sustainability.

Types of Plastic Recycling

Presently, plastic recycling methods are broadly divided into mechanical and chemical processes. 

  • Mechanical recycling, also known as closed-loop recycling, entails processing plastic into secondary raw material with minimal chemical modification. This widely utilized method aims to transform plastic into products that perform similarly to virgin plastic. Both primary and secondary recycling fall under the umbrella of mechanical recycling. Primary recycling involves converting recycled plastic into a similar product through physical processes, minimizing chemical intervention. For instance, Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) plastics retrieved from post-consumer bottles undergo primary recycling to produce new bottles. On the other hand, secondary recycling modifies recycled materials to create entirely new products while retaining the same material composition. For example, recycled PET bottles can be converted into yarns, representing a form of secondary recycling that involves chemical alterations.
  • Chemical recycling, also termed tertiary recycling, encompasses the modification of the chemical structure of polymeric waste to generate substances that serve as raw materials for manufacturing new products. This method, also known as feedstock recycling, presents an alternative approach to conventional mechanical recycling.

Is Recycling an Integral Element of the Circular Economy?

As global attention intensifies on the plastic crisis, there is a growing emphasis on fostering a circular economy (CE) across various sectors. CE aims to shift away from the unsustainable linear model of material use and disposal towards a more sustainable, cyclic system where materials are produced, utilized, reused, and recycled, thus reducing resource extraction, energy consumption, and pollution.

In recent years, the concept of Circular Economy (CE) applied to plastic has increasingly revolved around plastic recycling, touted by the industry as a remedy for plastic pollution. While the ideal scenario entails recycled materials being repurposed into new products, thereby reducing the reliance on virgin plastic, the reality often leads to downcycling. Unlike true recycling, downcycling results in materials of inferior quality, diminishing the value of the product with each recycling cycle. Research indicates that only a small fraction of plastic waste undergoes efficient recycling, with a significant portion either being downcycled or lost during the process, underscoring the hurdles in achieving genuine circularity within the plastic recycling framework.

Impact of Chemicals Found in Recycled Plastic on Human Health

The following is a summary of some of the most significant epidemiological studies conducted in order to understand the impact of these chemicals on human health.

i. Reproductive health: Exposure to chemicals found in plastics has been associated with adverse reproductive effects, as indicated by numerous studies. Phthalates, including DEHP, DEP, DMP, and DnBP, have been linked to early onset of menstruation and accelerated breast development in young girls, along with an increased risk of breast cancer and endometriosis. Additionally, phthalates exhibit anti-androgenic properties, disrupting the activity of male hormones such as testosterone.

BPA and NP have been observed to decrease the anogenital distance in males, contributing to a decline in male fertility. Specifically, BPA is known to interfere with the function of both male and female sex hormones. Lead (Pb) has the potential to disrupt sex hormones and destabilize chromatin, potentially resulting in congenital disabilities.

Cadmium (Cd) can diminish sperm motility in males, disrupt ovarian morphology, and decrease egg count, ultimately affecting female fertility. Moreover, chlorinated paraffins (CPs) have been shown to impair the reproductive system, causing premature breast development in females and leading to reduced semen quality in men.

ii. Pregnancy and foetal development: BPA has also been known to impact child brain development, prompting regulatory controls on its usage in baby bottles and other containers for food and drinks intended for children. Pb can pass through the placenta and cause miscarriages, or low birth weight of foetuses Cd may disturb the growth and development of follicles, leading to spontaneous abortion and birth defects in infants. CPs can cause preterm birth in humans. Parental exposure to DEHP, DBP and DiBP is also associated with child verbal comprehension, processing speed, perceptual reasoning, working memory, neuropsychological disorders and mental retardation. 

iii. Respiratory illness: Phthalates are known to trigger respiratory illness such as asthma, causing impairment and deterioration of the lungs.

iv. Dermal and skin issues: Heavy metals present in plastics can pose a toxicity risk that manifests in skin-related problems. Accumulation of heavy metals within the body can result in skin pigmentation abnormalities and increase the risk of developing skin cancer. Exposure to chlorinated paraffins (CPs) can also lead to skin irritation and various related dermatological issues.

v. Endocrine Disruption: In young children, exposure to phthalates has been associated with effects on metabolic activity, as well as disruptions in the endocrine and reproductive systems. Similarly, BPA and NP are recognized as endocrine-disrupting chemicals. These substances have the ability to mimic estrogen and bind to endocrine receptors, thereby causing disruption to the endocrine system.

vi. Carcinogenicity: Phthalates, CPs, BP and NP and heavy metals (Pb, Cd, As and Cr) found in plastic are mutagenic and carcinogenic. 

vii. Cardiovascular system: Phthalates are recognized for their association with cardiovascular risks, including fluctuations in blood pressure, coronary heart diseases, and atherosclerosis. A particular study conducted within the Uppsala community, focusing on individuals aged 70 years or older, unveiled a significant correlation between phthalates and BPA in the development of coronary heart disease.

viii. Erythrocytes (Red blood cells): Phthalates, such as DEHP, impact the plasma membrane of erythrocytes, resulting in increased osmotic fragility by enhancing their flexibility. This ultimately distorts the shape of the erythrocytes, thereby impairing the integrity of the entire cell.

ix. Apoptosis (programmed cell death) and DNA damage: NP may induce apoptosis and chromosomal damage, eventually affecting the DNA. BPA also causes DNA damage in human blood cells. 

Apart from these health effects, these chemicals can also cause liver impairment and immunotoxicity, neurological and renal damage, tissue lesions and skeletal retardation.

Sustainable Development Goals Aligned with Recycling Initiatives

  • Good Health and Well-being: This objective highlights the significance of producing and utilizing recycled plastic materials that are free from toxins, aligning closely with the overarching goal of ensuring good health and well-being for all.
  • Clean Water and Sanitation for All and Life Below Water: Plastics play a significant role in polluting water systems and harming marine life. Their degradation results in the generation of microplastics and the release of harmful chemicals, which have detrimental effects on marine ecosystems. Protecting these habitats and ecosystems requires stringent controls on the chemical composition of all plastics, encompassing both virgin and recycled materials.
  • Ensure Sustainable Production and Consumption: Promoting sustainable production involves the adoption of toxin-free recycled plastic materials, thereby integrating recycled products into the circular economy framework and encouraging sustainable consumption practices.
  • Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure: This objective aligns with the advancement of industries and innovations aimed at mitigating harmful chemicals present in plastics. It entails the development of resilient infrastructure and the promotion of sustainable industrialization through the implementation of technologies and practices that mitigate the adverse environmental and health impacts associated with plastic use.
  • Sustainable Cities and Communities: This goal advocates for industries and innovations focused on reducing harmful chemicals in plastics, contributing to the establishment of sustainable cities and communities. It promotes the development of eco-friendly practices and alternatives that can be implemented at the community level, aligning with the broader objective of achieving sustainable urban development.

The interconnectedness of different Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) underscores the importance of adopting a comprehensive approach to address the environmental and health issues linked to the use of recycled plastics. By incorporating these goals into the processes of plastic production, consumption, and recycling, there is a possibility of forging a healthier and more sustainable future.

Summary of the Study 

This study was conducted with the following objectives-

  • To assess the toxic contaminants in recycled plastic products.
  • To increase the amount of data available about toxic chemicals transferred from plastic waste into recycled plastic pellets. 
  • To use this data to raise awareness of the problem of non-circular plastics entering the recycling system, especially in developing countries like India. 
  • To understand the current recycling process in the informal sector and how chemical contamination are handled over these sectors.
  • To highlight the need for transparency and right-to-know for chemicals in products made both from virgin and recycled plastic.
  • To advocate for stricter standards on plastic recycling, especially related to chemical contamination.

Study Area 

For the current investigation, the samples were selected from different areas of New Delhi (latitude 28°24’17’’N to 28°53’00’’N and longitude 76°50’24’’E to 77°20’37’’E). 

Results and Discussion

Plastic Recycling in Delhi: The informal recycling areas for plastic in Delhi were visited between October – December 2023.  The field visits showed that recycling or downcycling of plastic is extensive in Delhi, and that the city receives plastic waste from all over the country. The prime areas dedicated to manufacturing recycled products have been listed in the table below. Most of the units in the identified recycling areas produced new products from recycled pellets. Each of these areas were dotted with many plastic grinding and moulding units, with many of these units dealing in different types of resins and producing a diverse range of recycled products.

Table: List of recycling units identified across Delhi

S.No.

Area

Moulded Products from recycled plastic

1.

Anand Parvat

Automobiles

2.

Badli

Combs

3.

Bawana

Tubs, flower pots (Semi-recycled)

4.

Daya Basti

Torches, flour strainers, serving bowls, food containers, toy cars, toy guns

5.

Inderlok

Toys, toothbrushes, spectacle frames

6.

Jhilmil & Friends colony

Cables and engineering

7.

Karwal nagar

Helmet, broom handles

8.

Khyala Village

Home theater cabinets, capacitor covers, fan parts, helmet, wall clips, electric toy cars, electric boxes, auto parts, torches, press handles, washing machine trolleys and e-rickshaw parts

9.

Kirti Nagar

thinner cans, battery part, horns

10.

Narela

Mugs, buckets, tubs, crates, paints & chemical containers

Following an extensive field survey across various recycled plastic product manufacturing sites, Daya Basti, Inderlok, and Narela were identified as the key locations of interest, because of their relevance to the considered recycled plastic products. Some of the samples tested during the study were picked up from the units in these areas, and the remaining samples were bought from different market areas in Delhi.

Tests: Samples were grouped in three classes- FCM, Toys and Miscellaneous, to facilitate better understanding of the study. The samples were assessed for the presence of BPA, Heavy metals (As, Cd, Cr and Pb), NP, CP and Phthalates. When comparing test results category-wise, it was found that toys had the highest concentration of chemicals, underscoring children’s susceptibility to these substances. Specifically, chemicals were found in 86% of toy samples, whereas 67% of FCM samples tested positive for chemicals. When examining the presence of chemicals, it was observed that BPA was predominant, being present in 53.3% of the samples analysed. The occurrence of NP and CPs was equal, each representing 26.6% of the tested samples. Phthalates made up 20% of the detected chemicals, while heavy metals had the lowest incidence at 13.3%.

Conclusions

Plastic recycling presents a dual narrative of both promise and peril, offering opportunities for commercial ventures while grappling with inherent challenges. While it has the potential to alleviate pollution from incineration and landfilling, persistent issues such as downcycling and chemical contamination pose significant hurdles. The prevalence of informal recycling sectors, particularly prominent in urban areas like Delhi, underscores a concerning lack of safety standards and regulatory oversight. The unregulated practices within this informal industry raise concerns regarding the quality and safety of recycled plastic products, especially regarding the presence of enduring toxic chemicals that persist throughout the recycling process and manifest in finished goods.

The results of a comprehensive field study highlight the urgent necessity for regulatory intervention and reassessment within the plastic recycling sector. Chemical analyses revealed widespread contamination levels exceeding permissible limits in recycled products, posing considerable health risks, particularly in items such as toys and food containers. As developing nations like India advocate for plastic recycling as a solution to escalating waste concerns, the study emphasizes the critical importance of robust regulatory frameworks to ensure the safety and viability of recycled plastics within the Circular Economy framework. Without stringent measures and improved monitoring, the unregulated use of toxic additives poses risks not only to human health but also to environmental sustainability, necessitating a recalibration of recycling practices to align with safety and sustainability objectives.

Recommendations

Based on the current study findings, the following could be recommended to prevent or reduce chemical exposure from plastic recycling:

  • Quality Control: Quality control measures are essential in the recycling process to minimize the presence of contaminants and ensure that the recycled plastic meets specific standards. 
  • Regulatory Compliance: Government and regulatory bodies should set more guidelines and standards for recycled plastic to ensure its safety and sustainability for various applications. Compliance with these regulations helps in mitigating health and environmental risks associated with recycled plastic. The same chemical safety standards should be applied to materials made with recycled plastics and to those made from virgin plastics. 
  • Manufacturing: The manufacturers should be encouraged, through policy and other measures, to redesign products to allow for a toxics-free circular economy, including the phase-out of toxic chemical additives.
  • Applicationspecific considerations: The suitability of recycled plastic for specific applications depends on the level of purity and the presence of certain chemicals. For example, food grade recycled plastic requires proper testing and evaluation to be deemed safe.
  • Transparency and Traceability– There is a need for plastic producers and plastic product manufacturers to list plastic ingredients, including additives, on labels. Chemical contents of plastics also need to be traceable throughout their entire lifecycle.
  • Awareness campaigns: Initiating awareness campaigns is essential to enhance public consciousness about the health impacts associated with recycled plastics. 
  • In-Depth Research and studies: The promotion of research and studies is crucial to heighten awareness and transparency concerning the chemicals present in recycled plastic.

To sum up, the composition of chemicals found in recycled plastic encompasses a intricate blend of the original plastic constituents, contaminants, and potential by-products resulting from the recycling process. Progress in recycling technologies, coupled with enhanced transparency and awareness regarding the significance of quality control in recycling, could potentially enhance the overall quality of recycled plastic. The pathways involved in chemical transfer throughout the recycling process highlight the complex challenge associated with plastic recycling. This underscores the importance of meticulous deliberation and the adoption of mitigation strategies to tackle the potential hazards stemming from the presence and formation of toxic chemicals in recycled plastic products.

This article is an extract of a report on ‘Is Plastic Recycling Safe?’ by Toxics Link. For the full report, please go to

https://toxicslink.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/03/Is Plastic Recycling Safe- Report by Toxics Link.pdf

Toxics Link is an Indian environmental research and advocacy organization set up in 1996, engaged in disseminating information to help strengthen the campaign against toxics pollution, and to provide cleaner alternatives. They also work on ground in areas of municipal, hazardous and medical waste management and food safety among others.

Decoding Cyber Coverage in India: Your Ultimate Guide

Decoding Cyber Coverage in India: Your Ultimate Guide

Decoding Cyber Coverage in India: Your Ultimate Guide

In today’s technology-driven landscape where digitalization is ubiquitous, companies confront an escalating threat landscape in the form of cyber-attacks, data breaches, and other cyber incidents. With the proliferation of cybercrime, robust cyber security measures have become indispensable. However, even with the best efforts, no organization is immune to the risk of a cyber-breach. This is where cyber insurance emerges as a crucial risk management tool.

 Subas Tiwari

Understanding Cyber Insurance

Cyber insurance, also known as cyber liability insurance or cyber risk insurance, is a specialized insurance product crafted to shield businesses from financial losses and liabilities stemming from cyber threats. It offers coverage for a spectrum of cyber risks, encompassing data breaches, network security failures, ransom ware attacks, and other malicious activities.

The Need for Cyber Insurance in India

India, with its rapidly expanding digital infrastructure and burgeoning e-commerce ecosystem, is witnessing a significant surge in cyber threats. From large corporations to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), entities across various sectors are susceptible to cyber-attacks. According to a report by the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), there were over 1.16 lakh cyber security incidents reported in India between January and June 2021. Against this backdrop, the importance of cyber insurance cannot be overstated.

In India, cyber insurance is imperative for a wide array of entities due to the escalating prevalence and sophistication of cyber threats. Here are some examples of entities that require cyber insurance in India:

  1. Companies of all sizes: Any organization that conducts business online or stores sensitive data electronically, ranging from small start-ups to large enterprises, faces cyber threats and can benefit from cyber insurance coverage.

     

  2. Financial institutions: Banks, insurance companies, and other financial entities in India are prime targets for cybercriminals due to the vast amounts of sensitive financial data they possess. Cyber insurance can mitigate the financial losses associated with data breaches and other cyber incidents.

     

  3. Healthcare providers: Hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare establishments store extensive amounts of sensitive patient data, making them attractive targets for cyber-attacks. Cyber insurance provides financial protection in the event of a data breach or ransom ware attack.

     

  4. Government agencies: Government entities at the national, state, and local levels in India handle vast quantities of sensitive information. Cyber insurance can assist government agencies in managing the financial risks associated with cyber threats and data breaches.

     

  5. E-commerce entities: With the proliferation of e-commerce in India, online retailers and marketplaces confront significant cyber risks, including payment card fraud, data breaches, and website downtime. Cyber insurance aids these businesses in recovering from cyber incidents and safeguarding their customers’ data.

     

  6. Educational institutions: Schools, colleges, and universities in India maintain sensitive information about students, faculty, and staff, making them potential targets for cyber-attacks. Cyber insurance offers financial protection against data breaches, ransom ware attacks, and other cyber threats.

     

  7. Professional service firms: Law firms, accounting firms, consulting companies, and other professional service providers handle confidential client data, rendering them vulnerable to cyber-attacks. Cyber insurance helps mitigate the financial and reputational damage resulting from data breaches and cyber incidents.

     

  8. Manufacturing and industrial enterprises: Industrial control systems and manufacturing processes are increasingly interconnected with the internet, exposing manufacturing and industrial companies to cyber-attacks. Cyber insurance provides financial protection against disruptions to production and supply chains caused by cyber incidents.

     

  9. Technology firms: IT companies, software developers, and other technology firms in India confront unique cyber risks due to their involvement in developing and managing digital infrastructure. Cyber insurance assists technology companies in managing the financial impact of cyber threats and safeguarding their intellectual property.

     

  10. Supply chain partners: Businesses in India that are part of global supply chains may be mandated by their customers or partners to have cyber insurance coverage as a condition of conducting business. Cyber insurance ensures operational continuity and compliance with contractual obligations.

In summary, cyber insurance is indispensable for any organization in India that relies on digital technology to conduct business or store sensitive information. By investing in cyber insurance coverage, entities can mitigate financial losses, safeguard their reputation, and ensure resilience in the face of evolving cyber threats.

Key Components of Cyber Insurance Policies

Cyber insurance policies typically encompass several key components, each tailored to address specific facets of cyber risk:

  1. Data breach liability: Covers expenses associated with data breaches, such as costs related to notifying affected individuals, credit monitoring services, and legal settlements resulting from lawsuits.

  2. Third-party liability: Protects organizations from liabilities arising from claims by customers, clients, or other third parties affected by a cyber-incident. This may include lawsuits alleging negligence in safeguarding sensitive data.

  3. First-party coverage: Reimburses organizations for direct expenses incurred due to a cyber-incident. This may include costs related to data recovery, business interruption, forensic investigation, and cyber extortion payments.

  4. Cyber extortion insurance: Provides coverage for expenses related to cyber extortion attempts, such as ransom ware attacks. It may cover ransom payments, forensic investigation costs, and expenses related to restoring systems and data.

  5. Regulatory fines and penalties: Some cyber insurance policies offer coverage for regulatory fines and penalties imposed by government authorities for non-compliance with data protection regulations, including GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation).

  6. Crisis management services: Many cyber insurance policies include access to incident response services, such as forensic investigation, public relations assistance, and legal counsel, to help organizations mitigate the impact of a cyber-incident.

Prominent Cyber Insurance Providers in India

  1. ICICI Lombard General Insurance: ICICI Lombard offers cyber insurance solutions designed to protect businesses from cyber risks such as data breaches, cyber extortion, and business interruption. Their policies provide coverage for various industries, including banking, finance, healthcare, and IT.

  2. Bajaj Allianz General Insurance: Bajaj Allianz offers cyber insurance policies covering financial losses and liabilities resulting from cyber-attacks, data breaches, and other cyber incidents. Their policies include coverage for expenses related to data recovery, regulatory fines, and legal defence costs.

  3. HDFC ERGO General Insurance: HDFC ERGO offers cyber insurance coverage for companies of all sizes, providing protection against cyber risks such as data breaches, identity theft, and cyber extortion. Their policies include features such as 24/7 incident response support and coverage for legal expenses.

  4. Tata AIG General Insurance: Tata AIG offers cyber risk insurance solutions designed to help businesses mitigate financial losses and liabilities due to cyber threats. Their policies provide coverage for data breaches, network security failures, and cyber extortion, among other risks.

  5. Future Generali India Insurance: Future Generali offers cyber insurance policies that cover businesses against cyber risks including data breaches, cyber extortion, and business interruption. Their policies include features such as coverage for forensic investigation expenses and public relations assistance.

  6. Reliance General Insurance: Reliance General offers cyber insurance coverage to protect businesses from cyber risks such as data breaches, malware attacks, and cyber extortion. Their policies provide coverage for expenses related to data recovery, legal defence costs, and regulatory fines.

  7. New India Assurance: New India Assurance offers cyber insurance solutions designed to help businesses manage cyber risks and protect against financial losses. Their policies provide coverage for data breaches, cyber extortion, and other cyber incidents, with options for customization based on the insured’s specific requirements.

  8. National Insurance Company: National Insurance Company provides cyber insurance coverage for businesses operating in India, offering protection against cyber risks such as data breaches, network security failures, and cyber extortion. Their policies include features such as coverage for business interruption losses and legal expenses.

These are some of the leading cyber insurance providers in India, but the list is not exhaustive. Businesses seeking cyber insurance coverage should evaluate policies from multiple insurers, compare coverage options, limits, and premiums, and consider consulting with insurance brokers or advisors to find the best-suited policy for their specific needs and risk profile. Additionally, it is important to review the terms and conditions of the policy carefully to ensure comprehensive coverage and compliance with regulatory requirements.

Challenges and Opportunities

While the demand for cyber insurance is on the rise in India, there are several challenges that insurers and businesses face in this evolving landscape. These include:

  1. Limited awareness: Many businesses, especially SMEs, lack awareness about the importance of cyber insurance and may underestimate their cyber risk exposure.
  2. Complexity of risk assessment: Assessing cyber risk accurately can be challenging due to the evolving nature of cyber threats and the interconnectedness of digital ecosystems.
  3. Affordability: Some businesses may perceive cyber insurance premiums as costly, especially smaller companies with limited budgets.

Despite these challenges, the cyber insurance market in India presents significant opportunities for insurers, reinsurers, and other stakeholders. With the right approach, insurers can tap into this burgeoning market and offer innovative solutions tailored to the needs of Indian businesses.

Best Practices for Procuring Cyber Insurance

When considering cyber insurance in India, businesses should adhere to the following best practices:

  1. Risk assessment: Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment to identify potential cyber threats and vulnerabilities specific to your business operations.
  2. Policy customization: Work closely with insurers to tailor cyber insurance policies to your organization’s specific risk profile and coverage requirements.
  3. Regulatory compliance: Ensure that the cyber insurance policy complies with relevant regulations, including the PDPB and other data protection laws in India.
  4. Continuous monitoring and review: Regularly monitor and review your cyber insurance coverage to keep pace with evolving cyber risks and organizational changes.
  5. Incident response planning: Develop a robust incident response plan that outlines procedures for detecting, responding to, and recovering from cyber incidents effectively.

In conclusion, cyber insurance plays a critical role in helping businesses in India mitigate the financial impact of cyber threats. As cybercrime continues to evolve, organizations must recognize the importance of cyber insurance as a vital component of their overall risk management strategy. By understanding the key components of cyber insurance policies, addressing challenges, and adhering to best practices, businesses can effectively navigate the complex landscape of cyber risk and safeguard their digital assets and reputation.

Additionally, here are 20 tips to consider when purchasing cyber insurance in India:

  1. Understand your risk profile: Conduct a thorough assessment of your company’s cyber risks, including vulnerabilities, potential threats, and the value of digital assets at risk.
  2. Identify coverage needs: Determine the specific areas of cyber risk you need coverage for, such as data breaches, business interruption, cyber extortion, or regulatory fines.
  3. Research insurers: Explore different insurance providers in the Indian market and compare their cyber insurance offerings, including coverage options, limits, deductibles, and premiums.
  4. Evaluate policy coverage: Carefully review the coverage provided by each policy, ensuring it aligns with your business’s risk profile and regulatory requirements.
  5. Consider tailored coverage: Look for insurers that offer customizable policies allowing you to tailor coverage to your company’s specific needs and operations.
  6. Assess financial strength: Select insurers with a strong financial rating to ensure they can fulfil their obligations in the event of a large-scale cyber incident.
  7. Check claims process: Evaluate the insurer’s claims process, including the ease of filing claims and the turnaround time for claims settlement.
  8. Review exclusions: Pay close attention to policy exclusions to understand what events or circumstances are not covered by the insurance policy.
  9. Look for regulatory compliance coverage: Ensure the policy covers expenses related to regulatory fines and penalties imposed for non-compliance with data protection laws, including the Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB) in India.
  10. Determine incident response services: Check if the policy includes access to incident response services, such as forensic investigation, legal advice, and public relations support, to mitigate the impact of a cyber-incident.
  11. Evaluate retroactive coverage: Consider policies that offer retroactive coverage, which may cover incidents that occurred before the policy’s inception date but were discovered during the policy period.
  12. Assess network security requirements: Some insurers may require companies to meet specific network security requirements or implement cyber security measures as a condition for coverage. Ensure you understand and comply with these requirements.
  13. Verify business interruption insurance: Compare the coverage provided for business interruption losses caused by a cyber-incident, including revenue loss, extra expenses, and recovery costs.
  14. Consider data breach notification costs: Look for coverage for expenses associated with data breach notification, including customer notifications, credit monitoring services, and regulatory filings.
  15. Check cyber extortion coverage: Consider policies that provide coverage for expenses related to cyber extortion attempts, including ransom ware attacks, such as ransom payments and forensic investigation costs.
  16. Look for reputable partnerships: Some insurer’s partner with cyber security firms to offer additional risk management services to policyholders. Consider insurers with reputable partnerships in the cyber security industry.
  17. Review policy limits and deductibles: Evaluate the policy limits and deductibles to ensure they are sufficient to cover potential losses and align with your company’s risk tolerance.
  18. Understand premium costs: Compare premium prices across different insurers and policies, considering factors such as coverage limits, deductibles, and additional services included in the policy.
  19. Seek expert advice: Consider consulting with cyber security professionals, insurance brokers, or legal advisors specializing in cyber insurance to help you navigate the purchasing process and select the right policy for your company.
  20. Regularly review and update coverage: Cyber risks are constantly evolving, so it is essential to regularly review and update your cyber insurance coverage to ensure it remains adequate and effective in mitigating your company’s cyber risks.

Additionally, here are 20 tips specifically tailored for filing claims under cyber insurance in India:

  1. Prompt notification: Notify your insurance provider as soon as you discover a cyber-incident. Prompt reporting is often a requirement for filing a successful claim.
  2. Understand coverage details: Familiarize yourself with the specific coverage provided by your cyber insurance policy, including any exclusions and limitations.
  3. Gather evidence: Collect and preserve evidence related to the cyber incident, such as log files, network traffic data, and screenshots. This evidence will support your claim during the investigation process.
  4. Engage professionals: Consider hiring cyber security experts or forensic specialists to assist with the investigation and documentation of the cyber incident. Their expertise can strengthen your claim.
  5. Document expenses: Maintain detailed records of all expenses incurred as a result of the cyber incident, including costs related to data recovery, legal fees, and regulatory fines.
  6. Follow claims procedures: Adhere to the claims filing procedures outlined by your insurance provider. This may include completing specific forms and providing detailed documentation.
  7. Maintain communication: Stay in regular contact with your insurance provider throughout the claims process. Keep them informed of any developments and be responsive to their requests for information.
  8. Understand deductibles: Be aware of the deductible amount specified in your policy. You will be responsible for paying this amount before your insurance coverage applies.
  9. Provide accurate information: Ensure that all information provided in your claim’s documentation is accurate and complete. Inaccurate or misleading information could delay the claims process.
  10. Review coverage limits: Understand the coverage limits specified in your policy. Ensure your claim falls within these limits to avoid any disputes with your insurance provider.
  11. Follow regulatory requirements: Ensure that your claims documentation complies with all relevant legal and regulatory requirements, including data protection laws in India.
  12. Seek legal advice: Consider consulting with legal experts who specialize in cyber insurance claims. They can offer guidance on navigating the claims process and protecting your legal rights.
  13. Be prepared for investigations: Expect your insurance provider to conduct a thorough investigation into the cyber incident. Cooperate fully with their inquiries and provide any requested information promptly.
  14. Document business interruption: If the cyber incident disrupts your business operations, document the impact on revenue, expenses, and productivity. This information will support your claim for business interruption losses.
  15. Review settlement offers carefully: Review any settlement offers provided by your insurance provider carefully. Ensure the offer adequately compensates you for your losses and expenses.
  16. Maintain records of communications: Keep records of all communications with your insurance provider, including emails, letters, and phone calls. This will help you track the progress of your claim and ensure accountability.
  17. Be patient: Understand that the claims process may take time, especially for complex cyber incidents. Be patient and avoid rushing the process, as thoroughness is essential for a successful claim.
  18. Seek clarification if needed: If you have any questions or concerns about the claims process or your insurance coverage, don’t hesitate to seek clarification from your insurance provider.
  19. Document disputes: If you encounter any disputes or challenges during the claims process, document them carefully. This information can be helpful if you need to escalate the issue or seek legal recourse.
  20. Review policy renewal terms: Finally, review the terms of your policy renewal carefully. Consider any changes in coverage or premiums and determine whether the policy still meets your needs.

Following these tips can help streamline the claims process and increase the likelihood of a successful outcome when filing a cyber-insurance claim in India.

Additionally, here are some key factors that may impact the cost of cyber insurance in India:

  1. Business size and industry: Larger companies with more significant digital footprints and higher revenue streams generally face greater cyber risk exposure and may therefore incur higher insurance premiums. Additionally, certain industries, such as finance, healthcare, and technology, which handle sensitive data and are common targets for cyber-attacks, may also face higher insurance costs.
  2. Risk profile: Insurers assess the risk profile of a business based on various factors, including its cyber security measures, past history of cyber incidents, and compliance with industry regulations. Companies with strong cyber security practices and a low incidence of cyber incidents may be able to negotiate lower insurance premiums.
  3. Insurance limits and deductibles: The extent of coverage and the deductible amount chosen by the insured can impact the cost of cyber insurance. Higher coverage limits and lower deductibles usually result in higher premiums, while lower coverage limits and higher deductibles may reduce premiums but increase out-of-pocket costs in the event of a claim.
  4. Type of coverage: The specific types of coverage included in the cyber insurance policy also affect the cost. Policies offering comprehensive coverage for a wide range of cyber risks, such as data breaches, business interruption, and cyber extortion, may have higher premiums compared to more limited coverage options.
  5. Claims history: Insurers may consider the insured’s claims history when determining the cost of cyber insurance. Companies with a track record of frequent or significant cyber incidents may face higher premiums due to their perceived higher risk profile.
  6. Security measures: Insurers may offer premium discounts or incentives for companies that implement strong cyber security measures and risk mitigation strategies. Demonstrating strong cyber security practices, such as regular security assessments, employee training programs, and incident response plans, may help lower insurance costs.
  7. Regulatory compliance requirements: Compliance with data protection policies, such as the Personal Data Protection Bill (PDPB) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), may impact the cost of cyber insurance. Companies that demonstrate compliance with applicable regulatory requirements may qualify for lower premiums.
  8. Market competition: The level of competition among insurers in the cyber insurance market can also affect pricing. In a competitive market, insurers may offer more competitive premiums and additional coverage benefits to attract customers.

It is important for companies considering cyber insurance in India to carefully assess their cyber risk exposure, review policy options from multiple insurers, and work with insurance brokers or advisors to negotiate favourable terms and pricing. While cyber insurance can be a valuable investment in protecting against financial losses from cyber threats, it is important to balance the cost of insurance with the level of coverage and risk management benefits provided.

Related

Job Loss Insurance Cover in India: An In-depth Exploration

Job Loss Insurance Cover in India: An In-depth Exploration

Job Loss Insurance Cover in India: An In-depth Exploration

In the dynamic landscape of India’s job market, uncertainties loom large, with factors like economic fluctuations, technological advancements, and industry disruptions often leading to unexpected job losses. Such situations can throw an individual’s financial stability into disarray, emphasizing the need for a safety net to cushion the blow of involuntary unemployment. Job loss insurance cover, a relatively recent addition to the insurance sector in India, serves precisely this purpose. In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the intricacies of job loss insurance cover in India, examining its features, benefits, and considerations for potential policyholders.

                                                                                                                         Subas Tiwari

What is a job loss insurance cover?

Job loss insurance is not available separately. You can usually take it with a home loan or with a critical illness or personal accident cover.

  • This is a kind of add on cover that is taken with other insurance.
  • If you take this facility with a home loan, then with the help of this insurance in India, your EMI of three months is repaid.
  • This facility works as an income option on the way to the job.
  • No insurance company offers a separate stand-alone job loss insurance cover.

Due to increasing job instability, mergers or sales between companies, cost-cutting plans or any illness, surgery, one can lose their jobs and be unable to meet their financial liability. Job loss insurance cover helps anyone to meet their financial liability in such a situation.

Key Features of Job Loss Insurance Cover

  1. Coverage Period: Job loss insurance cover typically offers financial assistance for a predefined period, ranging from a few months to a year, depending on the policy’s terms and conditions.
  2. Eligibility Criteria: To qualify for job loss insurance cover, individuals usually need to meet specific eligibility criteria, including factors such as employment tenure, age, and income level.
  3. Premiums and Deductibles: Policyholders are required to pay premiums to maintain their job loss insurance cover. The premium amount is determined based on various factors, including the coverage amount, duration, and the individual’s risk profile. Some policies may also include deductibles, which represent the initial amount that the policyholder must bear before receiving benefits.
  4. Waiting Period: Most job loss insurance policies come with a waiting period, during which no benefits are payable. This waiting period serves to prevent misuse of the policy and helps manage the insurer’s risk.
  5. Coverage Limits: Job loss insurance cover typically comes with certain coverage limits, including the maximum amount of financial assistance payable and the total duration of coverage.
  6. Exclusions: Like any insurance policy, job loss insurance cover may have certain exclusions. These may include voluntary unemployment, termination due to misconduct, or job loss resulting from pre-existing health conditions.

Benefits of Job Loss Insurance Cover

  1. Financial Security: Job loss insurance cover provides a crucial safety net, offering financial security and peace of mind to individuals facing involuntary unemployment.
  2. Debt Management: It helps policyholders manage their debts and financial obligations, such as loan repayments, mortgage instalments, and utility bills, during periods of unemployment.
  3. Maintaining Lifestyle: By providing a regular income stream, job loss insurance cover enables individuals to maintain their lifestyle and meet their day-to-day expenses without significant disruptions.
  4. Job Search Support: Some job loss insurance policies offer additional benefits, such as career counselling, job search assistance, and training programs, to help policyholders find new employment opportunities.

Companies Offering Job Loss Insurance Cover

  1. ICICI Lombard’s Secure Mind Critical Illness Plan
  2. HDFC Ergo’s Home Security Plus (Home Protection Plan)
  3. Royal Sundaram’s Safe Loan Shield (Critical Illness Plan)

Who can claim job loss insurance cover?

  • If someone has lost his job due to non-medical reasons
  • When opting for an additional cover, insurance protection remains available even if you leave your job due to medical reasons.
  • If the company is suddenly closed, declared bankrupt, then the cover is provided through the Add on Service cover.
  • It’s important to note that the job loss insurance cover provided through the home protection plan is valid for only five years. This means that the entire duration of the home loan tenure may not be covered.
  • Prior to filing a job loss insurance claim, it’s essential to have a thorough understanding of your add-on cover.

    Who cannot claim job loss insurance cover?

    • If you have your own business or are already unemployed, then you cannot claim cover.
    • If you face suspension due to poor performance, fraud, retirement, termite damage, or company-related reasons, including being on probation, the job loss insurance cover cannot be claimed.
    • Job loss from any disease not mentioned in the add on cover.
    • No cover is available if you take early voluntary retirement.
    • People working temporarily or on contract will not get cover.

    Considerations for Potential Policyholders

    1. Policy Terms and Conditions: Before purchasing job loss insurance cover, it’s crucial to thoroughly understand the policy’s terms and conditions, including coverage limits, exclusions, waiting periods, and premium payments.
    2. Comparison of Policies: It’s advisable to compare multiple job loss insurance policies offered by different insurers to find the most suitable coverage that meets your specific needs and budget.
    3. Financial Assessment: Evaluate your financial situation and assess whether job loss insurance cover aligns with your overall financial plan and risk management strategy.
    4. Claim Process: Familiarize yourself with the claim process and documentation requirements to ensure a smooth and hassle-free claims experience in the event of unemployment.
    5. Review Existing Benefits: If you already have certain benefits through your employer, such as severance pay, unemployment benefits, or group insurance coverage, consider whether additional job loss insurance cover is necessary.

    In conclusion, job loss insurance cover serves as a crucial financial safety net for individuals navigating the uncertainties of the job market in India. By providing a buffer against the financial impact of involuntary unemployment, this insurance product offers much-needed support and stability to policyholders and their families. However, it’s essential to carefully evaluate the terms, coverage, and suitability of job loss insurance policies before making a purchase decision. With the right approach, investing in job loss insurance cover can offer valuable protection and peace of mind in an ever-changing job market scenario.

    Transforming Consumer Dispute Resolution: Embracing Technology for Enhanced Accessibility

    Transforming Consumer Dispute Resolution: Embracing Technology for Enhanced Accessibility

    Transforming Consumer Dispute Resolution: Embracing Technology for Enhanced Accessibility

    Consumer dispute resolution panels nationwide are currently undergoing a significant transformation driven by technology-oriented initiatives. The primary aim of this modernization is to enhance accessibility, ensure prompt resolution of disputes, reduce costs, and mitigate delays, thus reinforcing trust in the established dispute resolution mechanism.

    Justice Surendra Mohan (President of the Kerala State & Lakshadweep Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission) emphasized the significance of cautiously accepting new technology, including Artificial Intelligence (AI), in consumer dispute resolution during the recent World Consumer Rights Day event. He acknowledged that AI may speed up the processing of outstanding complaints, but he also emphasized the need for consumers to be informed of the possible risks involved in using these technologies. This year’s theme, ‘Fair and Responsible AI for Consumers,’ underscores the significance of striking a balance between technological advancement and consumer protection.

    The effectiveness of consumer dispute resolution forums is set to be revolutionized by the incorporation of new technology, such as artificial intelligence (AI), and the simplification of online filing and evidence collecting. President D.B. Binu of the Ernakulam District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission reiterated this idea, pointing out that technology developments will motivate more customers to use consumer forums for redress. With the advent of online filing options, complaints may now be easily filed from the comfort of one’s home, which is a big benefit for those who live overseas.

    Consumer complaints pertaining to e-commerce transactions have significantly increased, according to recent statistics from the National Consumer Helpline. The number of complaints from consumers purchasing products and services online has increased by more than 30% in the last year, which is indicative of the rising amount of complaints in the online marketplace. Ms. Surya noted this trend, emphasizing the urgent need for efficient dispute resolution mechanisms in the digital realm.

    Key features of the new technology induction include AI-based speech recognition and translation systems, multilingual chatbot integration, and voice-enabled interactive voice recognition systems. These advancements are anticipated not only to enhance accessibility but also to enrich user experiences, reduce manual interventions, optimize call centre efficiency, and foster opportunities for continuous improvement.

    The integration of advanced technologies in consumer dispute resolution heralds a promising era of enhanced accessibility, efficiency, and transparency. However, it is essential to proceed cautiously, ensuring that technological advancements are utilized responsibly to safeguard consumer rights and uphold principles of fairness and justice.

    We extend our sincere appreciation to our esteemed readers for their unwavering support. Your engagement, feedback, and ideas play a pivotal role in our mission to deliver informative articles. Share your thoughts and suggestions at info@consumer-voice.org, as together, we nurture a knowledgeable and empowered community.

    Wishing you an enriching and enjoyable reading experience ahead!

    Pallabi Boruah

    Editor

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