Hyderabad: The Hyderabad Consumer Dispute Forum directed Tata AIA Life Insurance Company Limited to pay Rs 60,000 to a customer for causing mental agony and inconvenience to him.

The complainant, C.B. Rajendra Prasad, a resident of Srinagar Colony, in 2012, was approached by the insurance company with a lucrative proposal of

one-time investment in their organisation and also suggested making such investments in the name of his son since the complainant was aged 60 years then and also assured attractive returns.

Further, he was assured that he would be entitled to medical benefits too as promised for higher investments. Believing in the promises, he has invested

Rs 2,00,000 and informed the company that as his son stays in the USA and as the complainant himself is a senior citizen, he would prefer paying one-time investment and that his son would sign the required documents, once he is back in India.

He handed over the copy of the passport of his son for ID proof.

"After a few days, I received a courier from the insurance company and I was shocked to see that it was a policy in the name of my son having his signatures forged on it. Immediately, I informed the insurance company on phone to return the policy and refund the amount. However, the insurance company assured that necessary steps would be taken and informed me to retain the policy," said C.B. Rajendra Prasad.

Prasad keeps visiting USA to be with his son. Whenever he was in India, he made it a point to remind the insurance company to refund his money but the insurance company failed to respond.

In March, 2018, he sent a legal notice seeking refund of money but the company refused to refund and instead, replied in the form of demand notice for the revival of the policy.

In August, 2018, Prasad sent the final notice but that too went in vain.

The insurance company denied all the allegations and said "C.B. Rajendra Prasad is barred by limitation and he failed to file a petition under Sec 24A of CP Act for condonation of delay of 6 years nor gave any reasons for that effect. He voluntarily purchased the policy and he filled the necessary form, application sales illustration sheet, declaration, proposal form by paying the initial premium of Rs 2,00,000."

The insurance company also stated that the policy was sourced through a third party and that the insurance company has dissociated with the third party. The insurance company cannot look at the allegations of misselling and forgery at such a belated stage.

Further, the insurance company alleged that in 2013, a notice for renewal of premium and subsequently, lapse notice was issued to Mr Prasad, which was ignored by him as such and it was implied that he was not interested in continuing the policy.

After examining the evidence provided by Mr Prasad and the insurance company, the Forum said " the insurance company had been unfair in investing the amount in an insurance policy rather than in a long term investment in the company, issuing the policy in the name of the son of the complainant and finally, the opposite parties failed to put forth any evidence to prove that the policy is not defective and the signatures of the insured are genuine."

The Forum added that all the acts by the insurance company are certainly liable to refund the amount received from Mr Prasad and also to compensate him.

The Forum asked the insurance company to refund the sum of Rs.2,00,000 with an interest of 12 per cent from the date of complaint till realisation. Also, pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 for the hardship and mental agony caused to the complainant and pay Rs10,000 towards costs of litigation, the Forum said.

Sumit Kumar Jha

Sumit Kumar Jha is currently a multimedia journalist with Newsmeter. An alumnus of Hyderabad Central University and Amity University, he has interned with The New Indian Express and CGNet Swara. Sumit has also worked with video production houses in Mumbai as an assistant director in shows like 21 Sarfrosh for Discovery Jeet. He is specialised in Video Production. He was also the contributor at PARI network. Hailing from rural Bihar has spent his childhood shifting from places and people. Growing up he felt the need to document the lives and dreams of rural India. A lover of visual storytelling goes around the cities to search for Stories. He primarily reports on civic, human interest and data stories.

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