Insurance is an investment made which we can fall upon to tide over the unforeseen losses. But indemnity and the benefits thereof or even one of them is a different story in Lamka, Churachandpur. It is something to dream about in our dreams. With the long procedure of getting succession certificate and legal heir, it is difficult to say the least. To substantiate my claim let me tell you a real life story.
A little wayside story
My wife and I visited our cousin in the evening of 13th December 2011 to console the untimely demise of their dear son, Kevin Dolianmung @Mungbawi. My cousins (bro and his wife) were not at home but arrived after sometime. After our formal greetings we came to know that they are trying real hard to get some money from money lenders for payment towards the settlement of the insurance policy claim of Mungbawi through court. They took this step on the advice of the LIC Ccpur. We immediately call up an Officer who had worked in Ccpur branch to advise us on the matter. We send the detail of the policy and was told to wait. I then use my BBMsgr to contact a friend who is an advocate and another family friend of ours who himself is an LIC Agent. Both of them told me that no certificate is required. As advised I compose an email from my BB for the HO of LIC and grievance redressal cell indicating all the details and a request to tell me the reason for rejection of the claim which I can take up with the insurance regulator, IRDA. Unfortunately, I could not send the mail immediately due to the usual 'network down'. The next day morning I press the send key of the mail with a cc to their Regional Office, Guwahati.
It is a life insurance policy popularly call Bima Plus with Policy no: 491806617 taken through an agent whose code no is: 0040549B in branch code 49B, Churachandpur. A half yearly premium of Rs2449 for sum assured Rs1,00,000 payable for 16 long years. The policy was taken on 28 March 2006 when Mungbawi, the policy holder (who was born 08 Sept 1990) was 15 years of age then and the premium was paid regularly and on time. The proposer was his mother Awikhanching. What a smart mother he had! But Mungbawi died on 15 November 2011 at 21yrs.
The problem and the mistake committed
Mungbawi attained major some three years back. The policy was an open one as indicated by the LIC and needs a nominee. The mistake committed by Mungbawi was in not putting the nominee when he attains major. The proposer, his mother was the nominee from the beginning. But at this juncture they did not take the name of his dear mother as the nominee.
The mistake committed by the LIC/Agent is in not informing the policy holder to indicate a nominee on his attaining major. Not done through letters or even a simple phone call. The problems associated with the policy is supposed to be handled by the Agent from whom the policy was taken but he does not help us. Their head office customer care department told us that an issue of this type can be settled by simply filling up three forms for legal evidence of title i.e Form no. 3805,3806 and 3807. Even succession certificate was not insisted upon by their Head Office to avoid the inconvenience. The policy claim settlement officer, AAO advised my cousins that the claim cannot be settled in the normal process and advice them to take up the matter through court. They, with great difficulty, hire the service of an advocate. The advocate at first agrue with the LIC about the three forms and press that settlement through court was not necessary. The local Office still took their stand on settlement through court and my cousins started paying the usual court fee and the first hearing was fixed on 4 January 2012. The legal tangle is what the dealing officer advised instead of these three forms! The forms were procured but that is not free. They need to make our own copies and spend a few rupees for photocopying. An interesting Office. At this juncture we came into the scene and they had already spend around Rs7000 which my cousins hesitatingly told me. My email to them was replied informing about the change in the dealing officer, AAO and the case will be resolved in 15 days.
A visit to LIC office and the phone call
As directed, the three forms were submitted through our advocate. I along with my wife and cousin visited their office the next day to follow up the case. The Branch Manager and the dealing AAO were not available. I took their mobile numbers from a very helpful staff and began dialing the numbers. The BM's no was not functional and the AAO's was in switch off mode. After many failed attempt, I send an sms to them which reads "As instructed we have submitted the three forms for the claim of Lic Bima plus Policy no: 491806617 Policy holder: Dolianmung
We expect the settlement at the earliest
~Awikhanching & Kamzalian"
The delivery of the msg to the AAO was confirmed but that to the BM was not.
On reaching home I dial again the mobile numbers. Luckily the mobile of the AAO rang and after the hello, I intorduce myself and inquire about the policy claim. Our conversation runs thus:
'Kindly tell me the status of the policy claim of Dolianmung'.
I am on leave.
'Even though you are on leave you can still tell me the status of the claim. You are 24hrs on duty'.
Who told you that?
'This is your service condition. Even though you are on leave, you are on duty'.
Why are you so aggriesive?
'I need to know the status of the policy claim. You gave me no choice. I need to place to the notice of higher authorities. The way you deal with the case and the advised made by you is uncalled for. The claim can be settle just by filling the three forms, not through the legal excercise.'
I received the three forms yesterday.
'You mean you now received all the three forms'
Yes, I received them.
'Good. When can I expect the settlement of the claim?'
Give me three days.
'On what day exactly?'
'OK. I'll send them to collect the cheque on Monday. If there is a delay in payment I can claim for interest and a compensation for mental agony caused'.
Monday came. We are busy with the marriage ceremony of our another cousin. And then Tuesday is here. My cousin brother went to the LIC Office and was given a form to fill up, to indicate the bank account no where the settlement will be credited and put a signature in it. I was called by my cousin when I was busy shifting our belongings from our old house to a new building. Rush down at her residence, checked the form, our documents etc and reach the Office by around 1.00pm. Submitting the form to the dealing AAO, we were asked to get it counter sign by any officer of LIC which we promptly did. After submitting the form we were told to collect the cheque for settlement of the claim tommorrow. We thank him, I extend a congratulation to my cousin, by shaking her hand and went home happily.
On our way home we went to the market buying the usual vegetables like cabbage, onion etc for the coming week. My cousin asked me, what shall we buy for the (my) kids? Nothing was my reply. After a many refusal we stop over for a cup of tea and puree. My cousin drop me home by their two wheeler Activa. On reaching home she tries hard to give me some of the vegetables she purchased. I continually refused. I blurt out, 'If I accept this it means you are purchasing my service. I fought the case out of my concern and that's that'.
The settlement cheque was received on 21 Dec 2011 with no 'cha thaknabah'. Their Ghty office updates me by email about the settlement of the policy claim. I confirm the credit of the proceeds of the cheque into the bank account of my cousin. I then thank the LIC for settling the case. Looking forward to the best customer service. Always.
Hence, this close the case.