Marine Insurance Case Study

Double insurance recovery

timing

7 months

type of recovery

amicable

loss ratio

40%

loss amount

500.000 USD

countries involved

India, China

The products and clients involved

A sale of goods was arranged between a German maker of high quality cutting edge machinery and a very large Indian industrial conglomerate, for the purchase of two sets of brand new Horizontal Concentrix Machines along with their accessories for almost 1.000.000USD.

Original insurance and transportation

Transportation of these two sets of machines was arranged from their factory in China, in a multimodal carriage, up to the final storage depot of insured near Pune, Maharastra. What the final destination of the goods was and how many modes of transport are involved is an important factor to take into account; as such, the larger the number of conveyances that are involved in a transportation, the higher the risk of something going wrong is, as in this case.

 Similarly, it is important to properly define what the final destination of the goods is. For instance, if the final destination is well inland in the country, involving a truck journey, more risk is also attached to the carriage.

In order to properly understand the case, it is essential to be aware that within the terms and conditions of the purchase there was a clause regarding insurance stating the importer was to arrange for insurance of the goods during transportation. However, as the purchase was much more complex than a simple Purchase Order, a CIF Navasheva purchase was also agreed.

Contradiction of Insurance policies

Though this fact may seem confusing, it is very often the reality that a contract contradicts itself, articularly transportation contracts, international sale of goods contracts and also insurance contracts, as there are several documents nvolving one single agreement.

Therefore, these agreements may contradict themselves. Actually, an Indian importer of goods entered into an agreement with New India for the insurance of the goods while in transit.

Nonetheless, and this is the important point, it turned out there was a Chinese Insurance Company insurance policy in place for the same goods during the same transportation, covering the very same risk. Though there was some misinterpretation as to where the Chinese Insurance Company cover extended to, ie, Mumbai or final destination Pune. So, the Chinese Insurance Company certificate of insurance contradicted the Chinese Insurance Company insurance policy, creating ambiguity as to the extent of the insurance.

The incident

It is not unusual that things go wrong sometimes, as in this case. While inland transportation in India was taking place during February 2019, one of the trucks tilted and the machines were damaged.

Subsequent Claims

While there was not so much apparent damage to the machines, being a highly exact machine, all of the sensors inside the machine and plenty of its milimetrical features inside got damaged and the cost of repairs was concluded by experts to be beyond the cost of a new machine. Accordingly, total loss was declared.

The importer presented a valid claim towards New India for the loss and this claim was of course paid out by New India accordingly. Nonetheless, some flaw was detected during the claims handling process as there were discrepancies in between what the insurance policy of Zurich stated and what the insurance certificate stated.

Our Amicable Solution

After seeking advice from Marlin Blue, an amicable claim was brought against Chinese Insurance Company in order to get compensation for the indemnity paid out by New India, as it was detected the same risk may be covered under two different insurance policies.

It is always tricky handling claims in different countries, however, when it comes to China, the level of difficulty increases significantly as more obstacles are put in the way of an amicable claim. The Marlin Blue global network´s ability to open the right doors and find solutions was crucial in this case.

After the claim was presented, several refusals to compensate were received from Chinese Insurance Company, alleging the insurance policy was clear on what the destination of the transport was and its insurance cover, which is true as the final discharge point was Nhava Sheva Seaport, India.

Nonetheless, it is also true the insurance certificate stated a different destination for the goods, i.e. “warehouse of the importer, transhipment to be covered, if goods are transhipped”. Moreover, an insurance certificate was used in the documentary credit.

Lengthy discussions took place, in Chinese and in English, including some formal requests for settlements and even included seeking the advice of Chinese lawyers in order to bring litigation for the case if no amicable settlement was reached. After all this, a 200.000USD settlement was achieved, which was a great success and a good recovery, given the country where the claim was sought and even the very merits of the claim.

Moreover, it was not easy to get this money out of China, as Chinese authorities are very reluctant to remit money to overseas countries; therefore, some further negotiation was needed in order to finally get this money into the New India bank account. Marlin Blue was instructed by New India to carry on with recovery efforts for our Client.

Conclusions

It is always better to claim amicably rather than bringing litigation worldwide, regardless of the claimed amount involved. Marine insurance is an international business requiring a global approach. In this sense, having an open-minded team, handling any kind of disputed claims through dialogue and building bridges instead of starting a lengthy judicial process is always our preferred solution

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