Is death by mosquito bite insurable? SC answers the question in a judgment

  1. The Supreme Court has observed that where a disease is caused or transmitted by insect bite/virus in the natural course of events, it would not be covered by the definition of an accident.
  2. The observation comes in the background of a case where the question arose whether a death due to malaria from a mosquito bite in Mozambique, constituted a death due to accident and should be covered under insurance policy.
  3. A person had died after being diagnosed with encephalitis malaria contracted from a mosquito bite he sustained while working in Mozambique in 2012. When insurance was claimed, the National Insurance Limited had argued that a mosquito bite cannot be classified as a ‘personal accident’ covered under insurance policy and thus not eligible for the insurance money. However, both the State and the National Consumer Dipsutes Redressal Commissions dismissed the plea of National Insurance Limited.
  4. However, the Supreme Court has dismissed the decisions of both the Consumer Disputes Commissions. The Supreme Court has observed that the illness of encephalitis malaria through a mosquito bite cannot be considered as an accident. This is because malaria is a common issue in Mozambique and it is neither unexpected nor unforeseen. According to WHO’s World Malaria Report, there were an estimated ten million cases of malaria in Mozambique and an estimated 14.7 thousand deaths in the year 2017.
  5. The National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC), is a quasi-judicial commission in which was set up in 1988 under the Consumer Protection Act of 1986. The commission is headed by a sitting or retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. It provides for redressal of consumer disputes