Insurance firm penalised for repudiating claim

Ajay Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 14

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed an insurance firm to pay Rs 3,82,315 to a resident for repudiating a policy claim. Friends Cold Storage through its partner, Ramanjit Singh Bedi, had registered a case against Future Generali India Insurance Company Limited.

The complainant had reportedly insured his car from the insurance company on January 23, 2014 to January 22, 2015 and paid a premium of Rs 32,084. Meanwhile, the car met with an accident on December 12, 2014. Intimation regarding the accident was given to the company four days later.

However, it was further alleged that the insurance company wrongly repudiated the claim of the complainant on the ground that the vehicle was not registered with the Transport Authorities at the time of accident and its temporary registration certificate also expired. But at the time of issuance of insurance policy it was made specifically cleared to the company that the vehicle was not registered and the temporary registration certificate had also expired, however, they received the premium amount and issued the policy. The car was kept at Kosmo Automobiles to assess the damage.

In the meantime, the car was registered with the Transport Department on February 7, 2015, but the company wrongly again repudiated the claim. After that the complainant served a legal notice to the opposite parties to lift the salvage from Kosmo Automobiles at the earliest and to make the payment of the claim amount but to no avail.

The complainant after the expiry period of the notice sold the salvage for Rs 2.5 lakh as the same was deteriorating and Kosmo Automobiles was charging parking fees.

“The car was insured with the insurance firm for the sum of Rs 8,60,000 and it was liable to pay a sum of Rs 9,57,000 i.e. the insured value of the vehicle in question along with interest from the delayed payment at the rate of 15 per cent per annum”, the complainant said.

Whereas, upon receiving the notice of the complainant, the opposite parties filed a written reply taking preliminary objections, and stated, as per Section 39 of the Motor Vehicle Act, no person should drive any such vehicle in any public place.

Hence, Sunil Chawla surveyor and loss assessor of the insurance company informed the complainant through a letter that the claim was not payable as per terms and conditions of the insurance policy. Chawla assessed the loss to the tune of Rs 6,32,315.

Subsequently, consumer forum president Kuljit Singh and member Jyotsa after hearing arguments of both the parties concluded that, while it was an admitted fact that at the time of issuance of insurance policy the complainant was not having registration certificate of the vehicle and temporary registration certificate of the vehicle was also expired, but even then the opposite parties received the premium amount from the complainant and also issued an insurance policy.

Citing a National Commission order, the forum stated that since the insurance company had received the insurance premium and there was no violation of any specific condition in the insurance policy, the insurance company was liable to indemnify the insured amount for the loss suffered by the insured.

“Though plying a vehicle on road without registration is a violation of provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act, the competent authority to take action against a non-registered vehicle. The insurance company after accepting the premium, cannot escape from its liability and repudiate the claim on this technical ground”, reads the order.

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