A consumer court in Mumbai has directed The New India Assurance Company to refund Rs 18,837 suffered as a loss by a consumer due to the “arbitrary” hike of his mediclaim policy premium.
The District Consumer Dispute Redressal Forum also directed The New India Assurance to pay Rs 7,500 as compensation and 5,000 towards the cost of litigation. Percy Anklesaria had approached the consumer forum against arbitrary hike in his premium, claiming he had not been made aware of the rise by the company.
In his plea, Anklesaria said he had been availing the services of the company since November 1999, and alleged that it had hiked his premium from Rs 7,584 to Rs 13,210, and further to Rs 15,169 upon renewal in the subsequent years.
This, his plea contended, had caused him a loss of Rs 18,837. Anklesaria had written to the company two times to protest against the arbitrary increase in the premium, and had demanded a refund. However, in its written reply, the insurance company said the sudden increase in premium for renewal policies was due to new age band slab, which the consumer had crossed during the policy period.
It denied there was any “arbitrary hiking” and claimed the company may, at its discretion, revise the premium rates as well as terms and conditions every year upon renewal. After hearing both sides, the forum observed that the consumer has successfully proved that hiking in the premium amount by the insurance company was made by violating the law. It is done without following due procedure towards the insurer, and looks arbitrary on part of the Insurance Company, the forum said.
The forum, in its recent order, also observed that the company should have issued the notice which shall set out the reasons for an increase in premium and quantum of such increase. In the present case, it is found that the company has not issued such notice to the complainant, it added.