At, National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission NCDRC
By, THE HONOURABLE MR. JUSTICE V.K. JAIN
By, PRESIDING MEMBER
For the Appearing Parties: Yakesh Anand, Nimit Mathur, Advocates.
1. The complainant company obtained a Standard Fire & Special Peril Policy from the opposite party namely Royal Sundaram General Insurance Co. Ltd. for the period from 01.4.2011 to 31.3.2012 which was later got renewed. However, while renewing the policy for the period from 01.4.2014 to 30.3.2015, the insurer excluded the basement warranty, meaning thereby that the goods kept in the basement of the building were not insured. The Basement Warranty Exclusion Clause of the said policy expressly stipulated that the policy did not cover any property in the basement including building and / or content kept or stored therein, unless declared, agreed and specifically stated in the policy schedule. Thereafter, policy for the period from 31.3.2015 to 30.3.2016 was issued with the same stipulation, meaning thereby that it did not cover any property in the basement including building and / or content kept or stored therein unless declared and agreed and specifically stated in the policy schedule.
2. The case of the complainant is that on account of heavy rainfall, flood and inundation in the basement of the factory on 15.11.2015 and 1.12.2015, it suffered heavy loss. The surveyor appointed by the insurer assessed the loss at Rs.5,24,54,882/- but the claim was denied by the insurer vide letter dated 03.2.2016 which to the extent relevant reads as under:
"This has reference to the claim preferred by you for loss due to flood damage at your Ambattur factory premises. We had deputed M/s. Rank Associates to conduct the survey and we are in receipt of their inputs after inspection of the premises. We understand from the surveyor that the entire loss has occurred at the basement of the premises. The policy issued contains basement warranty by which any damage to property in the basement stands excluded. In this regard, we invite your attention to the mail sent by the surveyor on 08.12.2015, wherein the inadmissibility of the claim was conveyed to you. Under the circumstances, we are constrained to inform you that we may not be able to entertain the claim".
3. Being aggrieved from the denial of the claim, the complainant is before this Commission.
4. The case of the complainant is that the Basement Warranty Exclusion Clause which the insurer inserted in the insurance policy for the period 31.3.2014 to 30.3.2015 and 31.3.2015 to 30.3.2016 was not there in the policies issued for the earlier periods starting from 01.4.2011. This is also the case of the complainant that IRDA has not received any application from the insurer seeking approval for the aforesaid exclusion in the Standard Fire & Special Peril Policy. Reliance in this regard is placed upon the letter dated 17.10.2016 received from IRDA wherein it is stated that the Authority had not received any such application from the opposite party on special cover / exclusion under Standard Fire & Special Peril Policy.
5. It is not in dispute that on receipt of the insurance policy for the period from 31.3.2014 to 30.3.2015 which contained the Basement Warranty Exclusion Clause, the complainant did not write any letter to the insurer protesting against the said clause and rejecting the insurance policy on account of the aforesaid clause, being included therein. If the addition of the Basement Warranty Exclusion Clause was not acceptable to the complainant it ought to have informed the insurer accordingly and requested it either to delete the aforesaid Exclusion Clause from the policy or to refund the premium received from it. After taking refund from the insurer, the complainant could have looked for an insurer which was ready to give a policy without Basement Warranty Exclusion Clause, or could have approached IRDA for appropriate directions to the insurer. That having not been done, the obvious inference is that the complainant had accepted the basement warranty exclusion clause added by the insurer in the insurance policy for the period from 31.3.2014 to 30.3.2015.
6. Even for the next insurance period i.e. 31.3.2015 to 30.3.2016, the insurer issued a policy with Basement Warranty Exclusion Clause. If the policy for the period from 31.3.2014 to 30.3.2015 which contained the Basement Warranty Exclusion Clause was not acceptable to the complainant, it ought not to have taken the policy from the same insurer for the period from 31.3.2015 to 30.3.2016. The complainant did not reject the said policy and did not ask for refund of the premium paid by it. The aforesaid circumstance corroborates t
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he inference that addition of the basement warranty exclusion clause was accepted by the complainant. 7. Since the alleged loss to the complainant took place in the basement of the building and the said loss was not covered on account of the Basement Warranty Exclusion Clause contained in the insurance policy, the complainant is not entitled to any reimbursement from the insurer for the said loss. The complaint, being devoid of any merit, is therefore dismissed, with no order as to costs.