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A consumer forum here has asked an insurance firm to pay around Rs 8 lakh to a man for arbitrarily refusing his claim for the damage of his house, insured with it, due to heavy rains in August 2008.

A bench of New Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum, presided by C K Chaturvedi, asked The Oriental Ins Co Ltd to pay Rs 7.99 lakh to Delhi resident Satnam Singh Salluja after noting that the firm had acted without application of mind in accepting the report of the surveyor, appointed by it, “as global truth”.

“We find that insurance company has acted totally without application of mind in accepting the surveyor’s report as global truth, without going into its inherent perversity,” it said.

It noted that the surveyor assessed the loss of Rs 10 lakh but recommended reimbursement of only Rs 47,257.

The forum also noted that Salluja’s estimate placed with his complaint showed Rs 7.49 lakh for reconstruction of a wall.

In its order, the forum said that once the building and walls were duly insured against elements of nature causing loss, the approach of survey to apply principle of deprecation of building was totally perverse.

“The firm’s survey has acted totally in perverse way to underestimate the loss for reimbursement. We hold the firm guilty of deficiency in arbitrary refusing due claim of complainant (Salluja) and direct it to pay Rs 7.49 lakh to complainant, as per his estimate and pay Rs 50,000 for harassment, mental agony and litigation expenses,” it said.

Salluja had told the forum that he had taken all risk and peril policy of the firm to protect his house in Nainital as he was residing in Delhi.

He said there were heavy rains in Uttarakhand in August 2008 and the boundary wall, supporting walls and foundation of the house were badly damaged, needing reconstruction and, thereafter, Salluja informed the firm about the incident.

While the premises were insured for a total sum of Rs 33 lakh, the surveyor appointed by the firm recommended loss value of only Rs 47,257, he said.

He said that the surveyor’s report was not shared with him and after seeing such a small insurance, he filed a complaint against the firm before the forum.

In its reply, the insurance firm had said that it awarded the claim based on the surveyor’s report

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