CHENNAI: An insurance company has informed a policyholder that there is no mandate of law to issue the terms and conditions of policy in the regional language.
The policies are used nationwide, and it is a policy decision of its corporate office to use English. It has been in vogue for several decades.
Its response is pursuant to an order of the Madras High Court on a plea by a city resident.
The petitioner sought a direction to the National Insurance Company, represented by its manager, Direct Agents Branch-Tidel Park, Taramani, to expeditiously dispose of his representation sent in July this year.
Justice A. Kulasekaran directed the company to consider the representation and pass orders on merits and as per the law.
The case of R. Ayyanar of Anna Sathya Nagar, a mason, was that he sustained injuries in a road accident. While buying a motorcycle, he was informed that the insurance policy would cover all types of accidents, theft and third-party insurance. The company agent assured him that if an accident occurred, the company would pay the entire medical expenses (for personal accident).
As he did not know English, he trusted the agent. The company rejected his claim for the medical expenses. One of his requests to the company was that the terms and conditions of the policy be printed in Tamil, but there was no response. So, he moved the court.
The branch manager said that as for the terms and conditions of policy, the company had to abide by the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority.
There was no mandate of law by the regulator to issue policies in the vernacular. Until the company was advised by the competent authority, it might not be possible for it to grant the policyholder’s request.
Somehow, either we presume that people who invest in these kind of securities are educated lot & know English well, or we have unilaterally decided that our citizens who do not know English should never invest in these kind of securities!
In a country with such low levels of literacy, how can the newer and better investment products penetrate and reach the rural rich - some of them really sitting on unbelievably huge cash - so that money does not gets locked up and put to better use for one and all?
Ground reality . . . !