Delayed FIR cannot be basis for rejecting claim, says court
Delay in lodging an FIR for stolen property cannot be grounds for an insurance firm to reject the claim of its policyholder, a consumer court in Pune has ruled. The court directed an insurance firm to pay a policyholder Rs 1.48 lakh with interest at the rate of 9 per cent from the date when his vehicle was stolen and Rs 2,000 to cover litigation costs. The firm was told to pay the amount within six weeks from the date of receipt of the court’s order.
On January 14, the complainant moved a fresh plea before the additional district consumer disputes redressal forum, stating that the firm had not paid him the amount even after the six weeks’ time given by the forum, nor has it moved an appeal before the state consumer forum against the order. He called for appropriate action against the insurance firm and fresh damages for not executing the order.
The forum said that in a case involving an insurance claim for a stolen car, police take time in lodging an FIR in the hope that the complainant might get back his vehicle if a proper search is carried out in the vicinity where the theft has occurred. “It is only after all hopes of tracing the vehicle recede that the police lodge the FIR. The common citizen prefers going by the police’s advice rather than insisting on the FIR,” the forum, comprising president Anjali Deshmukh and SK Pacharne, observed.
“Cases like these have come up before the forum many times in the past. It is not correct to say that policy terms and conditions are violated because of the delay in lodging the FIR,” the forum said.
Complainant Sachin B Saste, proprietor of a tours and travel firm in Chinchwad, had moved the forum on 9 April 2014, challenging a communication by ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company rejecting his insurance claim. The firm had cited a six-day delay in lodging an FIR and eight days’ delay in informing the company about the theft as reasons for rejecting the claim. It said that the delay violated the policy terms and conditions. However, the forum ruled that the insured vehicle was stolen during the period when the policy was active. The complainant had promptly alerted the police control room on the day of the theft and had visited the police station thrice to lodge an FIR.