Citizens' Issues
Reasonableness, Again
How to establish ‘reasonable care’ against an insurer refusing to pay your claims
 
The word has been cropping up in this discourse with increasing regularity. Reasonable care, reasonable man, reasonable woman, etc. The last one attracted a lot of reader attention and feedback.
 
The duty of care has its component of reasonableness. As with the definition of reasonable man, what is the dividing line for the definition of reasonable care? It could be anything, widely varying between two individuals’ perceptions. How that can lead to litigation is our story for the issue.
 
One Mr Kapoor owned a motorcycle. From the data available, it looks like it was a normal bike, costing about Rs60,000/-. In June 2010, the bike was stolen. Fortunately, Mr Kapoor had full insurance, not a third-party cover. Mr Kapoor asked the insurer to make good the loss.
 
At this point, it is necessary to discuss how the system works. In case of  loss of a vehicle, the insured party has to immediately lodge a complaint within a maximum of 24 hours. Jurisdiction lies with the police station where the theft occurred, not the residential thana. If incapable of reporting personally, make sure a friend or a relative does it. Some police stations are chary about taking complaints. If you encounter refusal, just go to the nearest post-office and send the complaint by registered post, or speed post, acknowledgement due. It is at that moment that your clock starts. You have done your job.
 
Next, write to the insurance company. Give the whole history. The insurance policy number, a photocopy of the policy, the place of theft, date and time, when you complained the theft to the police station, a copy of the small chit stating the NC (non-cognisable complaint) number. It is best to remember that documentation is everything. Send a copy of your driving licence, hopefully valid. If the rider was someone else, send his, or her, details. Make sure that you have made all possible efforts to trace the vehicle, asking people in the area; pan-wallahs are good bets. So are urchins and street-dwellers.
 
Next, follow up for a few days with the police station. No insurance company does anything for a month; hoping it was all a mistake; maybe it was taken for a ride and abandoned. Then, get going after the insurer. They will try their level best to stall and prevaricate. No one likes to shell out money.
 
Mr Kapoor must have done all the spadework. So, the insurer found something to shift the blame. It transferred the guilt to the victim! This is where the affair gets murky. Not having any concrete proof against Mr Kapoor, it fell back on subjectives. Accusations that are vague are always difficult to refute. The insurer said that Mr Kapoor “…had not taken reasonable care.”
 
Reasonable care includes locking the vehicle properly. Beyond that, there is no way that the owner can be held responsible. It’s not that he has parked his vehicle in Taliban territory or outside the territorial limits of the country. The insurer was trying to wriggle out.
Mr Kapoor went to a consumer court.
 
Now, you be the judge.
 
This is how the Central Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum decided. It showed its annoyance at the lack of caring on the part of the insurer. Mr Kapoor was four years into the loss. Insurers have a battery of lawyers who represent them. People like Mr Kapoor may have never seen the insides of a court. The insurer was not only made to pay the cost of the bike less the 10% deduction (for usage), but also made to pay Rs20,000/- as penalty and damages.
 
The system works, slowly but surely. Hallelujah! 
 
(Bapoo Malcolm is a practising lawyer in Mumbai. Please email your comments to mail@moneylife.in)

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COMMENTS

Deepak R Khemani

3 years ago

Very clearly explained Mr Bapoo Malcom I'm sure it will help readers in case something like this happens to them. I can relate my personal case where my car was stolen and later recovered and I had to go through hell(different police stations, courts lawyers) to get it back, the procedure is so cumbersome and lengthy that one wishes once a vehicle is stolen it is never found.

Anonymous takes down 800 Twitter accounts linked to IS

Hacking group Anonymous had declared war against Islamic extremists and last month had warned that they would take down all their websites and social media networks

 

Hacking group Anonymous has claimed responsibility for taking down 800 Twitter accounts, 12 Facebook pages and over 50 email addresses as they were linked to Islamic State (IS) terrorist group.
 
According to CNN, Facebook said that it had shut down 11 out of 12 pages listed by Anonymous because they breached its rules. However, Twitter has not yet commented on the issue.
 
Facebook declined to comment on whether the company was alerted by the hackers about the offending content.
 
Last month, Anonymous group had declared war against Islamic extremists and said in a YouTube video that they would take down all their websites and social media networks.
 

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Moneylife Foundation: Five years on..
Moneylife Foundation has completed FIVE years. Five years in which it has established a strong fan following
 
You may like it, you may not- but Moneylife is there, making an impact on investors and regulators. I would like to think that if any investor were to sit in a corner, with every published issue of Moneylife magazine, it would be a full journey in investor education; and some more. And when it comes to taking on the regulators, I do not believe that any other publication is as forthright or forthcoming as Moneylife is. The launch of the Moneylife Foundation was a momentous one. 
 
I have been privileged to know Debashis and Sucheta and am glad that they have deemed it fit to let me ramble on in the magazine right from the first issue. Surely, a pleasure, a privilege and at times, a bit stressful, as I keep searching for a topic, and finally push it to Debashish and Sucheta for making sure that my communication is fair and proper and fit for reading.
 
In these five years, NEVER once have either of them told me to change my view, even if it be at odds with a stance they have taken in the magazine. And the freedom they have given me is without boundaries. I respect them for that. 
 
I must also mention the pain that they must be going through each time I push in my contribution at the eleventh (sometimes thirteenth) hour- unedited, full of errors, grammar haywire and disjointed. In the twelfth hour, they piece it together. Often, after seeing my article in print, I am surprised at the way the words flow and my article makes sense, even to me. Thanks, Debashish and Sucheta, for putting up with the spiel that I often send you, and making it look intelligent.
 
We generally have a tendency to remember only the latest. However, going back these five years, I look at several things that Moneylife pioneered. Honest to God interviews with fantastic achievers (not possible to name one in a galaxy that had stars like Dr Mashelkar, Glen Saldanha, Hafeez Contractor et al). And more importantly, to me, the choice of subjects and people always justified both halves of the magazine’s name. It was never just finance.
 
On the day of the launch, I recall a promise that was made by Sucheta and Debashis- Moneylife will not be like other magazines which presume that every reader is from the financial markets and use terms and jargons that leave us all scrambling for Google (more likely that we switch off after some time). And I believe that this promise has not been breached. Yes, sometimes, I have been guilty of using some ‘hifi’ terms which have left the common reader stumped- my apologies for that.
 
Some of my friends tell me that there is too much ‘negativism’ in the magazine. To them, I say that the financial regulations and markets have taken a heavy toll on investors. Scams and chicanery are second nature to the financial markets. In such markets, a strong voice is needed. To keep regulators alert and also to warn and educate investors and would be investors. From the first issue, Moneylife has fought battles for the investors.
 
I can go on.. For me, each issue has been one to look forward to. I must also say that Moneylife has received bouquets, but no bouquet is complete without a fair number of brickbats. In this journey, it is perhaps natural that the brickbats sometimes outweigh the bouquet. It is not my aim to please everyone, but to tell the truth. And of course, some will dispute the truth. I normally check my sources and based on my experiences, have a fair knowledge of what is reliable and what is not. Agree, not infallible, but works nine out of ten times. 
 
And all these are continuing without selling space and words for money. Yes, money is needed for all the seminars and the financial retrieval that is done for the members. A lot of good people have realised the contribution of Moneylife in today’s world of financial chicanery and kept the flame alive. I exhort everyone to give. Especially those who have gained from intervention of Moneylife can spread the word.
 
The team at Moneylife is also fantastic. Too many to name, but there are many who work quietly and ensure that the curtain rises in time, for each and every show.
 
The best to team Moneylife
 
Five is just a number and many more fives will touch Moneylife. 
 
A “Hi Five” to everyone ...
 
Cheers
 
Bala

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COMMENTS

Santosh Kanekar

3 years ago

Mr Balakrishnan,

As an avid subscriber and fan of Moneylife, I completely endorse the principles and the approach the magazine stands for.

However, in the spirit of candidness, the article headline is Moneylife Foundation and the article goes on about the magazine. I was expecting an honest appraisal of the Foundation Events.

My 2 bit: the Deemed conveyance and the Passport (especially the moneylife campaign for passport office ) is phenomenal and one of the best value.

Narendra Doshi

3 years ago

Dear Bala,
I entered ML after 2nd year. Yet, I am doubly sure that the above contents are in the hearts of many moneylife lovers.
My own best wishes for this torch to continue burning.

Vaibhav Dhoka

3 years ago

Cheers for completing FIVE educative and informative supportive years.Investors reading magazine has ray of light in present day where most regulators behave as Deaf & Dumb.Long years to LEAD.

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