Decided on July 09,2020

Anuj Textiles Appellant


C. Viswanath, Presiding Member - (1.) Complainant No.2 is the Director of M/s Anushree Textiles Pvt. Ltd. and Proprietor of its division, Anuj Textiles, which prints and sells sarees in the brand name of "Anu." It stocks all types of sarees and thans at their godown at 3, Cossipore Road, 1st Floor, Kolkata-700002. According to the Complainants, the Opposite Parties/Insurance Company insured their godown, alongwith goods, vide policy No.154400/11/09/00000831 for a sum of Rs.1.5 crores. Insurance policy was for the period from 26th March, 2010 to 25th March, 2011 mid-night. Fire broke out on 21.02.2011 at 8.00 am in the adjacent plastic factory due to which the godown of the Complainants was also affected. On informing the Fire Department, fire extinguishers reached the godown and extinguished the fire. Opposite Parties/Insurance Company was also informed of the fire. Opposite Parties appointed a surveyor, vide letter dated 22.02.2011, who inspected and assessed the loss due to fire. The surveyor checked several documents and sought clarifications from the Complainants which were duly replied. Final survey report was submitted on 10.05.2011 to settle the claim at Rs.1,42,50,000/-. Thereupon the Opposite Parties appointed an investigator, vide letter dated 31.01.2012, who assessed the loss on 14.03.2012 at Rs.59,16,024.92. The claim, however, was repudiated by the Opposite Party, vide letter dated 18.10.2012. According to the Complainants, the Opposite Parties, not depending on the surveyor's/investigator's report, simply to harass the Complainants did not settle the claim on one pretext or the other. Hence Complaint was filed before this Commission with the following prayer: - "a) In the premises above and in the interest of equity, it is therefore prayed that the Hon'ble Commission may be pleased to award a sum of Rs.1,42,50,000.00 as assessed by the appointed surveyor as settlement of the claim of the complainants and the Surveyor's charges Rs. b) Interest from the date of fire till realization @ 15% on payment. c) Award compensation of Rs.50,000.00 for harassment and Mental torture caused to complainants. d) Advocate's fees & cost as your Honour deem fit and proper. e) All payments to be made within the one month from the date of the receipt of this Hon'ble National Commission order and as ordered by this Hon'ble Commission."
(2.) According to the Opposite Parties, a Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy was issued in the name of M/s Anuj Textiles to cover stock of sarees and textiles kept in the godown. The location of the stock was mentioned as "godown of M/s Tirupati Empore, 3, Cossipore Road, Kolkata." The entire stock was reported damaged by the alleged fire accident which took place on 21.02.2011 at the adjacent plastic godown and spread to the godown of the insured. Surveyor was appointed, vide letter dated 22.02.2011, to survey and assess the loss. The surveyor, without considering the relevant factual position and documentation, vide report dated 10.05.2011, assessed the net loss at Rs.1,49,90,000/-. On close scrutiny of the survey report and documents like audit report, bank particulars, stock details, proof of insurable interest etc. ambiguity was found under the following heads: - "a) Ownership of location of risk (insured godown); b) Ownership of the premises in question; c) Insurable interest of the stock in question; d) Non-disclosure of facts and circumstances material to the risk (viz. non-disclosure of multiple occupancy of the location of risk); e) Ownership/proprietorship as per audit books and bank statement; f) Quantity of stocks damaged; g) Quantity of stocks recovered and salvage value and finally h) Net assessment of loss."
(3.) Despite clarifications sought by the Opposite Parties, the surveyor failed to provide any satisfactory explanation for the assessment made. The Opposite Parties, therefore, appointed an investigator, vide letter dated 31.01.2012, to look into the cause of loss, insurable interest, quantum of loss and genuineness of the claim. The investigator, vide report dated 14.03.2012, brought out gross violations of policy conditions as mentioned below: - "a) Location of Risk; b) Absence of insurable interest; c) No non-disclosure/misrepresentation of facts (multiple occupancy) material to risk; d) Right of subrogation.";

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