Padma Pandey, Member -
(1.) THIS appeal is directed against the order dated 13.3.2014, rendered by the District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum -II, UT, Chandigarh (hereinafter to be called as the District Forum only) vide which it disposed of the complaint filed by the complainant (now appellant) as under:
"10. We accordingly dispose of this complaint. The Complainant may exercise his option for surrender of the Policy as and when he desires. The Opposite Parties shall honour their commitment in terms of Policy conditions and make payment to the Complainant accordingly. No costs."
In brief, the facts of the case, as averred by the complainant, are that the complainant, aged about 45 years, took a Life Insurance Policy from the opposite parties in the year 2007 for an annual premium of Rs. 1,00,000. The first premium was paid vide cheque dated 16.3.2007. The lock -in period of the Policy was 3 continuous years, while the complainant was required to pay premium instalment for 40 years. The complainant was also made to understand that if no payment was made after the period of 3 years and the amount was not withdrawn, his life would be covered for a period of 40 years. It was stated that on regular payment of annual premium of Rs. 1,00,000, in case of any mis -happening, the nominee of the complainant would get a sum of Rs. 12,50,000 as Life Cover. On the basis of the proposal form (Annexure C -1) signed by the complainant, the Insurance Policy (Annexure C -2) was issued. It was further stated that the Policy was taken by the complainant for insuring his life till the age of 85 years and saving his hard earned money.
(2.) IT was further stated that the complainant paid regular premiums for 6 continuous years from 2007 to 2012, in all paying Rs. 6,00,000. Thereafter, the complainant enquired from the opposite parties about the value of his investment, when he was informed by them vide letter dated 27.4.2012 (Annexure C -3) that the current value of the amount deposited was Rs. 5,30,556 against the payment of Rs. 6,00,000. He lodged a protest with the opposite parties by showing his willingness to surrender the Policy. To his utter surprise, the complainant was informed that the Policy could be surrendered by paying surrender charges, to which he was not agreed as the same was not disclosed in the proposal form. It was further stated that the premium paying term of the Policy was 40 years, whereas, he would be insured only upto 70 years. It was further stated that the opposite parties were deficient, in rendering service, as also, indulged into unfair trade practice. When the grievance of the complainant, was not redressed, left with no alternative, a complaint under Section 12 of the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 (hereinafter to be called as the "Act" only), was filed. In their written reply, the opposite parties stated that the complainant filled up the proposal form dated 20.3.2007, after duly deliberating and understanding all the terms and conditions of the Life Long Unit Linked Plan. Under the said Policy, a premium of Rs. 1,00,000 was to be paid annually. The Policy had a sum assured of Rs. 12,50,000 towards life cover, with the last date of payment of premium being 29.3.2046. The allegations of wrong selling of the Policy were denied. It was further stated that the complainant was required to pay premium for 40 years and in the event of any mis -happening, his nominee was to get the sum assured. It was further stated that the Policy opted by the complainant was a Unit Linked Insurance Plan and was subject to volatile share market conditions and hence return could not be guaranteed as it was always dependent on share market. It was further stated that the complainant was given the option of re -consideration of decision within 15 days, in case, he did not agree with the terms and conditions mentioned therein. It was admitted that the complainant paid six premiums, and stopped paying the same thereafter. The Policy, thus, stood converted into in force notice period on 29.4.2013 due to non -payment of premium.
(3.) IT was further stated that, as per the terms and conditions of the Policy, if the premium payment was discontinued after 36 months, from the date of commencement then the Policy could be reinstated or could be surrendered after penalty. As per Article 15, the Policy was to remain in force for full risk cover for two consecutive years, from the due date of first unpaid regular premium, during which period it (Policy) may be reinstated. The Policy holder could reinstate the Policy subject to Article 7.4 of the terms and conditions of the same. It was further stated that if within the reinstatement period, the surrender value of units attributable to regular premium fell below a single premium amount, the Policy was to automatically terminate and the Policy holder was to be paid the surrender value. The Policy holder had a right to surrender the Policy in accordance with Article 14 and surrender value was payable to the person pursuant to which the Policy was to terminate.;