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Chandigarh: Forum directs insurance firm to pay interest on claim amount for delay of 21 months

During investigation, the police confirmed its inability to retrieve the damaged vehicle, thus, the owner of the trucl gave an intimation of the accident to the insurance firm on October 21, 2016, to get the claim.

The Consumer Forum of Chandigarh directed an insurance firm to pay nine per cent interest on Rs 14.59 lakh to a construction firm owner for delay in discharge of an accident claim amount for a truck which fell into a gorge in 2016. The forum also directed the firm to pay Rs 33,000 as cost of litigation.

Complainant, Avinash Kumar Gupta, owner of a Ropar-based construction firm Garg and Garg Company, said that his company had purchased a goods carrier vehicle, Truck Tipper (HP72B5003) on March 31, 2016, which was insured the National Insurance Company. The truck’s insurance was valid up to April 12, 2017, for a declared insured value of Rs 17,10,000. According to the complaint, the truck met with an accident and skid into a 500-meter deep gorge in Bhaga river on October 20, 2016, when it was carrying bajri from Cheeka-Darcha to Keylong.

During investigation, the police confirmed its inability to retrieve the damaged vehicle, thus, the owner of the trucl gave an intimation of the accident to the insurance firm on October 21, 2016, to get the claim. However, the complainant received a letters by the the insurance firm, demanding documents, which had already been supplied to them more than once. Further, the firm rejected the claim on the ground that all the relevant information and documents were not submitted by the complainant, following which, Gupta filed a formal complaint at the Consumer Forum of Chandigarh on April 18, 2018.

In a reply submitted by the National Insurance Company, it said that the complaint was premature as the complainant did not pay any heed to the requests of the insurance company to furnish the requisite documents. The firm said that it was the complainant’s duty to retrieve the vehicle and not of the police. It further said that the surveyor had submitted a report on January 9, 2018 and assessed the loss on the net of salvage basis to the tune of Rs 14,59,000 (RC cancellation), after reducing salvage, and since overloading was the major factor for causing the accident, it was the deciding factor for the claim.

After hearing the arguments, the forum said, since the vehicle had not been retrieved, the insurance company was right in deducting an amount of Rs 2.50 lakh towards its salvage. The salvage was to remain with the complainant and its value was to be deducted from the insured declared value of the vehicle. Thus, the insurance company had rightly arrived at a net insured liability to the extent of Rs 14,59,000, which was already paid to the complainant on July 19, 2019.

However, for the delay in the case, the forum directed the insurance firm to pay an interest at nine per cent per annum on Rs 14.59 lakh from the date of the accident, October 20, 2016, till July 18, 2019.

The forum also directed the firm to pay an amount of Rs 33,000 to the complainant as cost of litigation.