The decision of an insurance firm to stop the medical claim of Rs 27,200 of an 80-year-old policy holder has proved costly for it with a consumer forum directing it to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 for the harassment meted out to the senior citizen.
Besides the fine,a District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum here has also directed United India Insurance Company to pay the claim amount of Rs 27,200 with 9 per cent interest to 80-year-old complainant Jagan Nath Thapar.
Thapar had approached the forum,saying he had submitted all the bills of his post-hospitalisation expenses to the firm but it allegedly did not pass his claim as the bills for the medicines were not produced.
“We are shocked by the attitude of the company,in such a case. The company was free to get the cost of medicines assessed itself and pay all other charges which are reasonably incurred by an old patient of 80 years,” the forum presided by C K Chaturvedi said.
“We award higher damages for deficiency and harassment and litigation to an old man. We award a sum of Rs 50,000 for these heads,” the forum said.
The forum observed that the insurance company had acted in a “penny wise and pound foolish” manner by arbitrarily stopping a just claim and instead was ready to pay a huge interest if it passed an order against it.
“The company seems to be acting ‘penny wise and pound foolish’,in arbitrarily stopping just claim,and is ready to a pay hefty interest for delay,when the court make award after a few years,” it said.
“It should mend itself and discipline its officers to apply mind and heart to the jobs they are expected to do,” the forum said.
Thapar had said he was allowed compensation and treatment expenses under the policy by a March 2008 judgement of the consumer forum during his stay in the hospital in 2006.
After being discharged from the hospital,the doctor had prescribed him some medicines,physiotherapy and tests for a period of two months on which he spent Rs 27,200,Thapar said.
The insurance company,however,did not contest Thapar’s petition and the forum proceeded against them ex-parte.