Vadodara District Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (additional), Tuesday, ordered an insurance firm to pay SG$3,978 (INR Rs 2.5 lakh) to the family of a deceased towards expenses incurred for flying his mortal remains back to India.
The story dates back to 2010 when Mafatlal Chauhan died of an ischemic heart while visiting Singapore. His remains were flown to India for the final rites.
Chauhan’s family filed a claim with Oriental Insurance Company Ltd. However, their claim was rejected on grounds that the deceased had a heart condition and it was hidden while taking the cover. The firm stated that the policy carries specific exclusion of all medical expenses incurred directly due to past ailments and consequences attributable to or arising therefrom as per medical history. Chauhan’s wife Sudha and son Vikramsinh then filed a complaint at the consumer court in 2012 seeking $25,000 towards personal accident cover and $3,978 towards repatriation expenses.
In its defence, the insurance firm procured cashless documents from another insurer to show that the deceased earlier underwent a percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA). This was to prove that the existing heart condition was not shared with Oriental Insurance.
However, Chauhan’s son, in his legal reply refuted any such treatment or any such cover taken from the mentioned firm. “The matter went on and finally the victory is not only ours but for all consumers,” stated Vikramsinh on Tuesday.
The court observed that to avail of repatriation benefits, only the death of the insurer and proof of expenses are relevant. Since, the aggrieved was able to furnish both, the court directed the insurance firm to re-imburse the Chauhans.
“However, the accidental cover of $25,000 was denied stating that the death was not an accident but owing to a health condition,” shared a legal counsel familiar with the matter.
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