The Dakshina Kannada District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum has asked the United India Insurance Company Ltd. to pay Rs. 6 lakh to the owner of a boat, which was damaged in an accident.

Jayanth R. Salian of Iddya, Surathkal, who owns the boat “Pushpak”, had accused the company of poor service by repudiating his claim. He had taken an insurance policy for Rs. 9 lakh.

On May 2, 2009, while returning to Mangalore South Wharf, his boat drifted towards the sand bar because of problems with the steering wheel chain leading to damage to the bottom. Unable to flush out the water gushing into the boat, the crew abandoned it.

Since the cost of repair was estimated at Rs. 13 lakh, Mr. Salian gave a notice of abandonment on June 27 to the insurance company, requesting it to take possession of the wreck by fixing salvage amount. But the company had neither taken any action in this regard nor settled the claim. He sought a direction from the forum headed by Asha Shetty to ask the company to pay the insurance of Rs. 9 lakh along with interest at 18 per cent per annum and compensation of Rs. 1.01 lakh. The company maintained that the complainant had not submitted documents and failed to fulfil the requirements for completing the survey of the damage and asked for dismissal of the complaint. The forum found no justification in “voluminous documents” demanded. “The company in the guise of production of documents withheld the claim,” forum said.

The company stated that the complainant had not hauled up the vessel immediately thereby causing further damage to it. Pointing out that the surveyor had visited four times, the Forum said, “the surveyor should have drawn the interim report to substantiate that the vessel had undergone further damage because of the complainant.” The surveyor had made a “bald statement” in his report that boat was repairable without justification, the forum said. It held the company liable to pay the full value of the boat. Since the engine, gear with net, and accessories estimated at Rs. 3 lakh were intact, the Forum directed the company to pay Rs. 6 lakh with an interest at 8 per cent per annum from the date of accident till the date of payment. It awarded litigation expenses of Rs. 1,000 in favour of the owner of the boat.

More In: Mangaluru