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E-commerce Delivering a Lifeline or Simply Destroying One!

By Entrepreneur India Staff

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Policy Bazaar

It's the Christmas morning and various companies offering on-demand goods and services have already deployed their newly-hired men in the city. They've got red jackets and Santa Claus hats, making them feel good about themselves. Well, these certainly are holidays while unlike the rest of the country, the delivery companies are still working. Their men are under training and soon to be assigned different delivery areas.

Since it's prudent to take care of all the safety measures on the roads to avoid accidents, each of these delivery boys must have a valid two-wheeler insurance policy to avoid any legal or financial liability arising out of such a mishap. (We'll cover the necessity of insurance later in the article).

Restaurant Chains Boost Their Sales

Today, almost everyone loves pizza and burgers. There are several companies in this business, providing quick and effective services, including free home delivery of your order. Some of the giants you must know pretty well – McDonald's, Pizza Hut, Domino's, and so on, had established their market the world over while many country-specific and city-specific brands have also joined the market competition. Luckily, some of those not-so-big brands have established themselves pretty well by winning their customers' hearts by delivering exactly what they had promised.

We cannot overlook the fact that these companies are well-established in various Asian countries, including India and China, as these fast food restaurant chains have provided jobs to the local people in various cities of these countries.

Increasingly High Traffic and Busy Roads

In a country like India, where the population is huge, the number of motor vehicles (two wheelers, cars, and commercial vehicles) on the roads is significantly large. The delivery boys travel back and forth between the restaurant and different addresses across the city. As they mostly are in a hurry, chances are extremely high that they may meet with an accident.

Thousands of men across the country, including food delivery boys, cab/taxi drivers are facing life-threatening conditions on the roads. In fact, these delivery boys are on a higher risk, as more and more people today prefer to order food online, which is a safe bet for them, especially when the roads are busy in afternoons in the summer.

Insurance turns out to be the savior

Since food delivery boys, bike taxis, and other motorcycle riders are more exposed to the risks on the roads, every such individual must have a two wheeler insurance policy, which is mandatory as per the Motor Vehicle Act, 1961. As per the act, every vehicle plying on the roads must have a valid third party insurance policy at the very least. This is to eliminate the chance of any legal liability arising out of accidental damages/injuries to a third party.

Two-wheeler insurance policies provide complementary coverage of up to INR 1 Lakh to the owner rider while some offer coverage to a pillion rider as well. In case a rider gets severely injured due to an accident and ends up getting hospitalized. The policy covers the hospitalization expenses up to the coverage limit.

Big Daddy is Watching!

Domino's, earlier in the 90s, brought out a scheme called "30 Minutes or free", which meant you would get your pizza within 30 minutes of ordering. If the delivery boy failed to appear at your doorstep to deliver your pizza within the stipulated time, you were auto-entitled to get the same pizza for free. The company later had to retract the scheme (not in India) because of some lawsuits, concerning reckless driving.

As per the order of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, the company once had to pay INR 1.15 Lakh to a student of 10th standard as compensation after a delivery boy injured him due to his reckless and negligent driving.

Wrapping up!

"Life is beautiful," they say. "Life is precious," they probably mean as well. In India, about 75% of two wheelers run without insurance, putting pedestrians and fellow road-users' life at risk. The companies, restaurant chains, and other e-commerce giants must ensure that their delivery boys have valid driving license, insurance policy, and other supporting documents before hitting the roads.

P.S. Don't let your responsibility become someone else's liability.

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