The consumer court ruled that life insurance can be claimed when a patient dies due to malaria.

Death due to malaria qualifies as an accident Apex Consumer Court
news Law Monday, January 02, 2017 - 14:14

The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission recently observed that death due to malaria was an “accidental death” and hence was fit for claiming life insurance sum as mentioned in the policy.

"Death of policyholder patient due to malaria after mosquito bite is an accidental death and hence insurance company is liable to pay the sum assured," the commission said while hearing a case between the National Insurance Company Limited and one Mosumi Bhattacharjee.

"An accident is something that happens unexpectedly and is not planned,'' said the commission.

"It can hardly be disputed that a mosquito bite is something which no one expects and which happens all of a sudden without any act of omission on part of the victim," said Justice V K Jain, presiding member of NCDRC.

Bhattacharjee had approached the consumer commission after her husband Debashish Bhattacharjee died of malaria in 2012 and was denied compensation by the National Insurance Company. The insurer had said malaria itself was a disease and not an accident.

Prior to the National Commission,  a district consumer court had ruled in favour of Bhattacharjee but the insurer approached the state and national commission but in both the instances the courts ruled in favour of Bhattacharjee.  

The National Commission upholding both the judgments of lower courts observed that the policy did not define the term "accident" and relied upon the definition of Accident given in the Oxford dictionary, wherein it is defined as "An Accident is something that happens unexpectedly and not planned in advance and causes injury".

The court relied upon an earlier judgment in a case involving Matbarsingh and Oriental Insurance Company in which the court had held that snake-bite, dog-bite, frost-bite as accidents.

According to the scheme—Bank of Baroda Home Loan Suraksha Bima-Bhattacharjee was to be paid Rs 13.15 lakh for death caused due to accident.