Trans-Asia goes to court to get P70M from insurance company-A A +A
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
A CEBU-based shipping firm has gone to court to compel its insurer to pay P70 million to cover losses incurred when one of its vessels sank last year.
Trans-Asia Shipping Lines Inc. filed a civil case for sum of money and damages before the Regional Trial Court against the Philippine Fire and Marine Insurance Corp. (Philfire).
Trans-Asia, represented by its chairman and chief executive officer Arthur Kenneth Sy, filed the complaint after Philfire allegedly refused to pay the insurance claim.
Philfire, a Makati City-based insurance firm, said MV Asia Malaysia capsized off the waters of Calabazas in Ajuy town, Iloilo on July 31, 2011 due to perils of the ship and the owner’s negligence.
The passenger-cargo roll-on roll-off vessel sank when hit by strong winds and giant waves. The Philippine Coast Guard reported that the vessel’s 168 passengers and crew members were all rescued.
Trans-Asia, through its lawyer Dexter Viñan, said Philfire insured the hull and machinery of the shipping firm’s five vessels, including MV Asia Malaysia, for P70-million.
The shipping firm filed a formal notice of insurance last Aug. 1, 2011. But Philfire, the complaint said, told Trans Asia that it had to wait for the findings of the Board of Marine Inquiry to determine how much is due to the shipping firm.
Viñan said Philfire is obliged to pay Trans Asia P70 million after MV Asia Malaysia was declared a constructive total loss, even without the findings of the Board of Marine Inquiry.
Viñan said Trans Asia furnished Philfire with copies the Board of Marine Inquiry’s findings, the Coast Guard’s reports and other pertinent documents, but the insurance firm still refused to pay.
But Philfire cited the findings of the Coast Guard attributing the vessel’s sinking on the perils of the ship and negligence of its owners.
Viñan said Philfire’s conclusion was “misplaced” and “has no leg to stand on.”
When MV Asia Malasia left Cebu port last July 30, 2011, Viñan said, the vessel was “seaworthy, upright, and stable, in good navigation condition, with passengers and cargoes within authorized limits.”
“The Coast Guard inspected and cleared MV Asia Malaysia to sail after its equipment and other navigational instruments were verified to be all functioning,” the complaint read.
Viñan said Trans Asia also filed an administrative complaint against Philfire, which is pending before the Insurance Commission.
Apart from P70 million payment for constructive total loss, Trans Asia also asked the court to order Philfire to pay about P10 million representing labor clause and protection and indemnity clause; P1 million in moral damages; P1 million as exemplary damages; and P.5-million as nominal damages.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 26, 2012.