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Dyspeptics - Your sufferings have not been in vain!

Life insurers used to routinely decline to pay out claims on grounds that the insured was a chronic dyspepsia patient? No? Here's more.

Savita Nathawat

13 May 2008

In a mad-rush world where you are trying your hardest to keep fit because you need to get up the next day to go to work, when work becomes the point of existence, a mad scramble to meet the next EMI payment, providing for the family, and putting something resembling a nest egg for your golden years,... you could be forgiven for the more than occasional attack of dyspepsia, couldn't you?

Not according to life insurance companies.

Life insurers routinely decline to pay out claims on grounds that the insured was a chronic dyspepsia patient.

That gravy train is no longer available to insurers.

The National Consumer Commission has held that dyspepsia - indigestion characterized by stomach pain, discomfort, heartburn, and nausea often following a meal - is not a disease in itself. Therefore, no insurance company can deny the sum assured to a nominee on grounds of non-disclosure of pre-existing illness/disease.

The ruling came in connection with the following case:

Kanti Kumar had bought a life insurance policy with a quarterly premium of Rs 1,404 in March, 1992. He died in 1997. His widow, Chandra Kant Lohande filed a claim with the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) but LIC denied the assured sum to the widow, saying that he was a chronic patient of dyspepsia.

Reviewing a petition filed by LIC against a Madhya Pradesh State Commission order, Justice M. B. Shah, head of the apex consumer panel, directed LIC to pay the sum assured of Rs. 50000 to Chandra Kant Lohande. According to the Justice, "In today's world, people face problems like acidity, indigestion, back pain and head ache, which are sometimes chronic in nature. They cannot be considered as diseases, which require to be enumerated while answering questionnaire of the LIC in its proposal form."

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