Tata AIG General Insurance Co, one of India’s top insurers, has been pulled up by the country’s top consumer court after the company claimed that it did not insure a buffalo as claimed by a farmer, and that someone had cheated the farmer by forging documents.
“It is a sad story that the gullible persons are led the garden path like this, either by the OP (Tata AIG) or other persons who act in cahoots with it. Such like incident should have alerted the OP and criminal action should have followed,” said Justice JM Malik, presiding member of the NCDRC in his order upholding the Rs 33,000 damages and cost imposed by a lower court.
The NCDRC also imposed fresh litigation costs of Rs 20,000 on the insurance company out of which Rs 10,000 was to be paid to the farmer.
Back in March 2008, Puran Ram Rawat of Rajasthan insured his buffalo for a sum of Rs.30,000. The agent of the Insurance Company fixed the tags immediately at the time of insurance in their ears. During the term of the Insurance Policy, on 30.08.2008, the above said buffalo in question, fell ill and passed away. The postmortem of the said buffalo was got done in the presence of the surveyor appointed by the Insurance Company.
However, TATA AIG said such a policy had not been issued by them and that the papers were “fictitious.”
Justice Malik reprimanded the company when its counsel said an inquiry should be made to see who actually gave the forged insurance on its behalf.
TATA AIG General Insurance “did not deny that it issued the above said policy. The reply (of TATA AIG) is vague, evasive and namby-pamby pleas made therein lead the Commission nowhere,” Malik said.
“However, the documents produced before the (District and State) Fora below clearly go to reveal that the Insurance was made on behalf of the OP (Tata AIG).
“The petitioner (TATA AIG) is harping on the question that the enquiry should be made. It is surprising to note that a big and prestigious company like Tata AIG could not make enquiry uptil now within the span of seven years. It (TATA AIG) did not state that the printed forms do not belong to their Company or they have no connection with Dr. Sita Ram Verma, Veterinary Officer.. or the authorized Tagging Officer, whose signatures appear on the record,” he added.