Hyderabad: It took 14 years for Ms Vagdevi Rao, the girl whose parents and sister were brutally murdered in 2005 at Nagole, to get compensation from LIC and that too, thanks to a consumer forum in Hyderabad. The consumer forum had directed the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to pay a compensation of Rs 17 lakh for causing mental agony by not depositing the insurance amount.
The facts of the case are: on the intervening night of June 11 and 12, 2005, dacoits entered Vagdevi’s house at Nagole and brutally murdered her parents Visweshwar Rao and M.Vijayalaxmi and her 18-month-old sister. The complainant, who was four and a half years old then, was the only one who survived after prolonged treatment.
Since then, Vagdevi has been in continuous care and custody of Venudhar Reddy, an advocate and is presently studying XII standard.
The girl’s father obtained Jeevan Anand Policy with accident benefit for Rs. Five lakh and her mother also obtained a policy for a sum assured amount of Rs. 50,000. Under Jeevan Anand Policy terms, the insurance company has to pay Rs 10 lakh and an additional sum equal to the sum assured of the policy.
Now Vagdevi is the sole legal heir of her parents and both the policies obtained by them were in force as on the date of their death. As per the policy, even a crime shall be considered as accidental death and the insurer is liable to pay amount equal to the assured as accidental benefit.
However, when the murder occurred the girl was a minor and there was no legal guardian to look after the affairs.
The death intimation of her parents was given to insurance firm on July 12, 2005 on behalf of the complainant. LIC was also informed that a legal guardian is pending and hence request was made to keep entire death benefits under the two policies in a fixed deposit. But there was no acknowledgement from LIC. At that time the complainant was a minor and there was no legal guardian because of which claim forms could not be submitted.
Later Sri Vendudhar Reddy was appointed the complainant’s guardian. Based on a petition filed by him at Ranga Reddy District Court, seeking LIC to deposit death benefits in the two policies with accumulated interest, the insurance company deposited Rs. 5,71,553
But it failed to deposit double the amount under the policy and the accumulated interest.
In the meanwhile, she became a major, and filed a fresh complaint seeking interest and damages.
Considering the material available, the consumer forum in Hyderabad directed LIC to pay a sum of Rs. 17,01,000 to the complainant and also Rs.10,000 as costs within one month.
The forum in its statement said, “The opposite party was aware of the amounts payable under the policies and should have settled the claim’s and made a fixed deposit of it so ultimately the legal heir would have benefited on such deposit. By not depositing the maturity amount soon after receipt of the death intimation opposite party has caused deficiency of service. Accordingly, point is answered in favour of the complainant.”