'Mosquito bite not covered under accidental insurance'

The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that the death of a man caused by malaria after mosquito bite cannot be termed as an accident for the purpose of insurance.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday held that the death of a man caused by malaria after mosquito bite cannot be termed as an accident for the purpose of insurance.

 "To be bitten by a mosquito and be imbued with a malarial parasite does involve an element of chance. But the disease which is caused as a result of the insect bite in the natural course of events cannot be regarded as an accident. Particularly, when the disease is caused in an area which is malaria-prone," a bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Hemant Gupta said.
 
The top court disagreed with the findings of the National Consumer Dispute Redressal Commission which stated “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 or omission on the part of the victim."
 
It termed the interpretation as "manifestly incorrect" and "unsustainable".
 
"Where a disease is caused or transmitted in the natural course of events, it would not be covered by the definition of an accident. However, in a given case or circumstance, the affliction or bodily condition may be regarded as an accident where its cause or course of transmission is unexpected and unforeseen," Justice Chandrachud said in the judgement, authored by him.
 
The court here although allowed an appeal by the National Insurance Company against the consumer panel's orders, yet it directed that no recoveries should be made against Mousumi Bhattacharjee whose husband had died Mozambique due to multi-organ failure after contracting malaria due to mosquito bite.
 
Bhattacharjee's husband had taken an insurance policy to cover the housing loan amount of Rs 13.15 lakh.
 
"We have embarked on the present exercise since the issue raised in the present case will have a bearing on similar questions of interpretation in policies of insurance envisaging an accident cover," the bench said.
 
The court also noted according to the WHO’s World Malaria Report 2018, Mozambique with a population of 29.6
million people accounts for 5% of cases of malaria globally. 
 
It is also on record that one out of three people in Mozambique is afflicted with malaria. In light of these statistics, the illness of encephalitis malaria through a mosquito bite cannot be considered as an accident, the court said.

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'Mosquito bite not covered under accidental insurance'

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