The South Mumbai district consumer forum has pulled up New India Assurance company for failing to provide required services to one of its consumers, repudiating his claim on unreasonable grounds.
The forum has directed the firm to repay the claim amount of Rs8.3 lakh along with 6% interest from December 2009. The forum has also directed the firm to pay an additional amount of Rs5,000 towards the complainant's litigation cost.
Moreshwar Andhale, a Dongri resident, owned an Ashok Leyland Tusker Turbo tractor. To ensure its safety, he had approached the insurance firm for an anti-theft/anti-damage policy. Andhale bought a policy valued at Rs8.3 lakh and valid from July 26, 2008, to July 25, 2009.
According to the forum's order copy, on November 10, 2008, around 6pm, Andhale's tractor, parked at JNPT in Navi Mumbai, went missing. He searched for it till November 11 9am, but couldn't find it and, hence, lodged a police complaint. He also approached the insurance firm, informed them about the theft and sought compensation.
The firm resisted Andhale's claim on the ground that he had not appointed a driver or cleaner to look after the vehicle and it had been lying unattended for more than three weeks. "Andhale had kept the vehicle's key in the ignition box and the door of the cabin was secured by an ordinary lock. There was gross negligence and recklessness on Andhale's part, which led to the theft," read the insurance firm's reply, as mentioned in the forum's order copy.
The complainant has breached condition No. 5 of the insurance policy and, therefore, is not entitled for the relief as claimed, the firm said.
The forum, after going through the evidence, held, "There is sufficient evidence on record to show that the complainant has taken all reasonable steps to safeguard the vehicle... The statements and record placed in this complaint show the firm adopted unfair trade practice and proceeded to repudiate the claim... Thus, the forum holds... there is deficiency in (the firm's) service."