Tribune News Service
Mohali, February 16
The Mohali District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed United India Insurance Company to pay Rs 70,000 to a Sohana resident for harassing a consumer.
While observing that it was the duty of the insurance companies to pay the entire insured’s declared value (IDV) to the insurers in case of total loss of vehicles, the forum held the company guilty of deficiency in service.
The forum comprising BS Mehandiratta, president, and Dr SS Dhaliwal, member, directed the insurance company to remit the loan amount due to the bank and pay the remaining amount to the complainant and get the vehicle transferred in their name within 10 days. The company has also been directed to dispose of the damaged vehicle and reimburse Rs 22,060 spent by complainant on the preparation of the estimate of repair, along with Rs 5,000 as costs of litigation apart from paying compensation.
The insurer had moved the forum stating that he had got his Toyota Innova insured with United India Insurance Company Limited in March, 2011, for Rs 8.97 lakh.
The vehicle met with an accident near Sector 70 in July, 2011, and it was damaged. He filed a claim for the total loss of the vehicle with the insurance company which claimed that he was entitled to the claim of Rs 3.50 lakh and it refused to pay the full IDV of Rs 8.97 lakh. The complainant stated that he had purchased the vehicle by obtaining a loan and had been paying Rs 15,000 as EMI.
The insurance company contested the complaint saying that it was ready and willing to make the payment of the claim to the complainant.It held that the complainant was given the option to sell the salvage but he did not cooperate. The insurance company also said that the complainant was also assured that it would pay him after deducting the salvage value of the vehicle from the IDV. The consumer forum held, “The settlement cannot be forced upon a consumer but has to be agreed by him. The claim has to be settled as per terms and conditions of the contract of insurance and thus the insurance company is bound to pay the entire IDV of the vehicle to the complainant and also liable to compensate him because they have made the complainant to wait for seven months.”
The consumer forum dismissed the plea of the insurance company terming it as “illogical“. The forum held, “The insurance company had not pointed out any clause in the terms and conditions of the policy to show that the complainant had agreed that the insurance company would pay him IDV after deducting salvage value of the vehicle or that it would be the responsibility of the complainant/insured himself to dispose of the salvage and adjust the same against the IDV.”
It was further observed, “It is the insurance company’s responsibility to take the vehicle into their custody and redeem the value of its salvage and that is not the business of the complainant. The company is duty bound to take the vehicle into their possession on their own. The settlement cannot be forced upon a consumer but has to be agreed by him.”
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