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Insurance firm fined for rejecting claim
The Tribune, June 14, 2019

The District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has directed New India Assurance Company Limited to pay Rs 3.99 lakh as accident claim to the car owner. The company had rejected the claim on the basis of the licence of the driver, who possessed an LMV licence, which was not endorsed for transport vehicle.

In a complaint to the forum, Anjali Arora, a resident of Sector 15-C, Chandigarh, stated that she owned a car (bearing registration No. CH02-AA-6815), which was insured by New India Assurance Company Limited with a IDV value of Rs 4,40,200 and premium of Rs 23,856 was paid from February 28, 2017 to February 27, 2018.

She stated that the car, which was being plied as commercial vehicle, met with an accident on January 27, 2018, in Mathura, Uttar Pradesh, and was badly damaged. The driver of the car also died in the accident.

Following the accident, a claim was submitted with the insurance company, which appointed surveyor, who assessed the damage as total loss and recommended payment on net of salvage basis with RC Rs 3,99,500 and net of salvage basis without RC Rs 4,09,500 as per terms and conditions of the policy.

However, the claim was rejected by the insurance firm as the driver engaged by the complainant was operating transport vehicle and his driving licence was not endorsed for transport vehicle.

In its reply, the New India Assurance Company submitted that the amount was not disbursed as driver Dalbir Singh was having a driving licence valid for the LMV non-transport only and not for driving a transport vehicle.

The forum after hearing arguments held that there was no difference in the class of vehicle except for the technicalities that it was a transport vehicle and driver’s licence was valid for light motor vehicle (non-transport).

The forum pronouncing the order, cited a judgment of 2017 of Chandigarh State Commission of ML Khurana vs United India Insurance Company Limited, in which observations were made “Transport vehicle” would include medium goods vehicles, medium passenger motor vehicle, heavy goods vehicle, heavy passenger motor, and also giving reference of the Supreme Court judgment of Mukund Dewangan Vs Oriental Insurance Company Limited, as per which if a driver possesses a licence to drive a car, no endorsement is required, if such vehicle is being used for transport/taxi purpose.

The company was also directed to pay Rs 20,000 to the complainant as compensation and Rs 10,000 as cost of litigation

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