His house struck by lightning, it took a man over four years and a prolonged battle to win his court case against an insurance major, which said the lightning was only a work of his “imagination.”
In a case of delayed justice, which hardly brings cheer to householders in a State battling monsoon calamities, the Kozhikode District Consumer Forum has directed the payment of a compensation, which comes to a little over one-third of the original insured sum, to Kunhirama Kurup of Kunnamangalam here.
Mr. Kurup was rendered homeless after the walls of his house collapsed in heavy rain in 2008.
As per Mr. Kurup’s complaint, filed before the consumer court in January 2009, his house was “destroyed” in the heavy rain, thunder, and lightning that occurred around 2.30 p.m. on October 9, 2008.
But his insurer, United India Insurance Company Ltd., with whom he had taken a ‘fire and special perils policy’ for Rs.4 lakh, did not believe him.
“The lightning on October 9, 2008, is only an imagination of the complainant (Kurup) to file a claim of this nature and get compensation under the pretext of insurance policy,” it contended in court.
The insurance major told a two-member Bench of the consumer court that there was neither rain nor lightning on the day of the incident.
It further refused to accept a certificate produced by Mr. Kurup from the village officer, who attested to his version, and even went to the extent of alleging that the official document was a “creation” to support the claim.
“The complainant’s house is an old structure and the damage to the house was due to the afflux of time and had nothing to do with lightning. This complaint is liable to be dismissed,” the insurance company urged the Bench of G. Yadunadhan and L. Jyothikumar.
Taking up Mr. Kurup’s complaint that there was deficiency of service on the part of United India Insurance, the bench noted that other than repeatedly saying there was no lightning and rain on October 9, 2008, the company failed to produce a shred of evidence to prove their version in court.
“There is not a single document produced to disprove that heavy rain with thunder and lightning has not affected the complainant’s house. No witness was produced to disprove the incident… the surveyor who inspected the disputed house is not an independent one,” the court observed against the company in an order dated June 15, released on Thursday.
The bench had also appointed an independent survey of the Mr. Kurup’s house, which confirmed the latter’s claim and assessed the value of depreciation caused by the incident as Rs.1.76 lakh.
Though agreeing that it was “clear deficiency of service” on the part of the company and Mr. Kurup was “entitled to claim the sum insured,” the court restricted its order to awarding only Rs.1.76 lakh to him, along with litigation costs of up to Rs.10,000.