Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Insurer intends to recover third party payouts in Ferrari crash

SINGAPORE: Insurance company AXA Singapore has said it intends to recover from the estate of deceased driver Ma Chi whatever payouts it makes to victims involved in the Ferrari crash in May.

This is on top of its decision to reject any liability it has to offer a payout to Ma's estate.

The accident saw Ma, a China national, allegedly running a red light and colliding with a taxi, which then crashed into a motorcycle.

Three people died from the collision.

They included Ma, taxi driver Mr Cheng Teck Hock and his passenger Ms Shigemi Ito.

Ma Chi's wife and mother took AXA Singapore to court after the insurance company said it was withdrawing coverage of the fatal incident.

Channel NewsAsia understands that the cost of the payout is equivalent to the cost of a brand new Ferrari 599 GTO, which is worth about $1,539,200.

Under the law here, all road traffic victims who are injured or fatally injured by motor vehicles on public roads would receive the appropriate compensation.

But AXA Singapore, which is represented by United Legal Alliance, explained that the collision was not considered an "accident" under its insurance policy.

Its lawyers highlighted that Ma had driven the car "at an extremely excessive speed, far above the road speed limit of 60km/h."

They also noted that Ma failed to stop at the junction despite the lights showing red, failed to stop or slow down to avoid the collision, and collided into the taxi resulting in the taxi hitting a motorcycle.

The defence counsel claimed that Ma's conduct was "so clearly reckless and dangerous that it was not a risk intended to be covered under the insurance policy."

They also argued that Ma was "doing an act which he knew or ought to have known was courting imminent death to himself and others."

The insurance company added that "the collision was highly probable, forseeable and to be expected."

According to AXA Singapore, this means that any deaths or injuries in the collision was not due to "an accidental means" under its policy.

Ma was not drunk at the time of the deadly crash, according to a Health Sciences Authority report.

Channel NewsAsia understands that none of the third party victims - Mr Cheng Teck Hong, Ms Shigemi Ito, Ms Wu Weiwei, who was in Ma's car, and motorcyclist Mr Muhammad Najib Ghazali, have made any claims against AXA Singapore at this point.

AXA Singapore said that it is prepared to pay compensation to third party victims even if no judgment has been entered against Ma's Estate, "subject to Ma Chi's Estate agreement or the Court's direction."

But it added that it intends to recover the claims from Ma's estate with its counterclaim.

AXA first informed the Ma family of its decision to reject liability earlier this year.

Shortly after, the family stated that they disagreed with AXA's position.

A spokesperson from AXA Singapore said that the counterclaim is a standard process in the case of a repudiated or voided policy.

A pre-trial conference is expected to take place in October.

View the original article here

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