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Man refused compensation for loss in flood

mumbai Updated: Sep 01, 2010 01:50 IST
Vignesh Iyer
Vignesh Iyer
Hindustan Times
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Victory for Kalyan-based shopkeeper, who suffered loss of goods worth over Rs 3.9 lakh in the 2005 deluge, was short-lived.

Warning consumers to be vigilant while purchasing goods and services, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission recently set aside the order of Maharashtra Consumer Commission, which had directed an insurance company to pay Rs 1.50 lakh to him.

The commission refused to buy shopkeeper Anil Raja's argument that the terms of the policy were not explained to him.

“The contention that terms of the policy were not explained (to him) will not lend any support since the complaint is a trading concern and not any illiterate villager," said the commission.

When Raja approached New India Assurance Company for compensation, the company rejected his claim saying that “flood, storm and tempest” were excluded from the policy.

Raja approached the Thane District Consumer forum on August 2007.

The district forum directed the New India Assurance Company to pay Raja Rs 1.50 lakh and Rs 5,000 for the mental torture caused to him.

But the insurance company challenged the order in the Maharashtra State Consumer Commission.

The state commission upheld the order of the district forum.

Later the insurance company approached the national commission, contending that the policy document clearly stated: “Flood, storm and tempest (FST) risk were excluded from the policy cover”.

Raja’s counsel argued that Raja was not made aware of any such clause.

The commission said that “FST risk excluded from policy cover” has been clearly mentioned in bold letters in policy documents of 2004.

Raja said neither his agent nor his company had explained the clause to him.

“I have the policy since 1995 and have been renewing it every year but I was not told about this clause,” said Raja. “I will now approach the Supreme Court.”