Case dates back to 2020

Nima Wangdi

The proprietor of Phuntsho Timber Industry, Phuntsho Wangdi, appealed to the Supreme Court unhappy with the High Court’s verdict on his insurance claim after the HC denied the compensation he claimed, the conduct of the HC hearings and the manner in which the insurance company deducted money from his bank account.

In his appeal letter to the SC on March 6, the proprietor, Phuntsho Wangdi said that Bhutan Insurance Limited (BIL) did not pay the reduced insurance claim of Nu 195,000 even after five months. The proprietor had claimed Nu 266,890 in insurance after a windstorm blew away the roof of his industry in 2020.

BIL assessed and reduced the claim to 195,000. After five months, BIL reduced it to 101,466. Phuntsho Wangdi who walked into Kuensel on Tuesday said that the courts are not doing anything to BIL for delaying and not releasing the payment. He had not received the reduced claims BIL worked on.

Not receiving his claims, Phuntsho Wangdi did not renew his insurance scheme. “However, BIL had renewed my insurance policy by debiting the premium amount of Nu 79,780 from my bank account without my knowledge and consent. The HC asked BIL to pay back just the premium without any investigation on the legitimacy,” he said.

Phuntsho Wangdi is claiming for the refund of the insurance premium with interest, which the HC denied. Phuntsho Wangdi  claims that BIL has notified him about the claim reduction to Nu 101,466 and he accepted. After BIL did not pay him even after a month, he rejected the offer through an e-mail.

Phuntsho Wangdi said that he informed the court that he had already nullified the last claim amount after the company did not pay him and wanted to stick to the initial claim of Nu 195,000 to which he had agreed by signing the document. “But the court did not acknowledge it,” he said.

Phuntsho Wangdi also claimed that he was not given the opportunity to rebut BIL’s submission which he said contained many false claims. “The court did not share with me the copy of BIL’s submission nor was I called for the hearing that day.” “The judgment shows that the court conducted four hearings out of which I was called for only two.”

He submitted five requests to the SC – to review the case since BIL has submitted many claims to the HC without any evidence, considering the insurance claim of Nu 195,000, consider compensation claim of Nu 3,750,000, and the illegal deduction of insurance premium from his bank account.

He also requested the court to investigate the injustice and BIL for procrastinating and not paying the claim amount.

Phuntsho Wangdi said Phuntsholing drungkhag and Chukha courts took more than one year each to pass judgments.

Going by the amount of claims, it is not even worth fighting a case. “I am doing this because I am unhappy with the service BIL provided to me.”

BIL’ stand

In an earlier email response to Kuensel, BIL officials said that they renewed the insurance policy as the proprietor had not renewed it. “It is as per the existing prudential regulations of Royal Monetary Authority (RMA). It is to ensure that fixed assets pledged as collateral or mortgaged against loans are properly insured,” the email stated.

The email also stated that BIL signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the BNB stipulating a condition that in the event of the borrower’s failure to insure or renew the insurance policy, BNB would insure or renew the insurance policy and debit the cost of the insurance to the borrower’s loan account. “BIL hasn’t transferred the insurance premium unilaterally but done as per the prudential regulations and MoU signed with BNB.”

However, Phuntsho Wangdi said that he should have been informed at least after the premium was deducted and the scheme was renewed. “BIL did not do that,” he said.

He said while the MoU mechanism between BIL and BNB is for a good cause, his case was different since the company had not released his claim.