Leasing company pursues $80 million claim for plane lost in Russia | Insurance Business America
The company is suing reinsurers even though it has never seen the relevant insurance documents
By Ryan Smith
An aircraft leasing company is filing an $80 million lawsuit for airliners lost in Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, though the plaintiff never saw the relevant insurance documents.
According to a report by British insurance broker Mactavish, Shearwater Aircraft Leasing has made the claim relating to the loss of two airliners it leased to Russian airline group Norwind. Norwind failed to return the planes when the war in Ukraine began and continued to use them despite repeated attempts by Shearwater to return them – a practice common to many Russian airlines, Mactavish said.
In a lawsuit against the insurers, Shearwater alleges a total loss of the aircraft and alleges that Norwind’s retention of the aircraft resulted in her actual loss.
“Norwind continued to operate and fly each of these aircraft in and through Russia, contrary to plaintiffs’ claims and/or directions and despite the fact that the BCAA certificates for each of the aircraft were withdrawn and/or revoked and.”/or that the leasing of each individual aircraft has been terminated,” states Norwind’s claims document.
According to Mactavish, no defense papers have yet been filed in the case. However, in similar cases, the insurers refused to pay out on the grounds that the total loss claims were invalid because the aircraft still existed.
Mactavish reported that more than 20 cases related to unpaid claims for planes lost in Russia are currently before the courts.
What is unusual about this case is that Shearwater is suing in connection with an insurance policy taken out by its customer, Norwind, who still uses the aircraft. And instead of suing Norwind or the primary insurers, all of which are Russian and subject to sanctions, Shearwater is suing the reinsurers. Shearwater said in his filing that he was never provided with copies of the aircraft’s insurance policies.
Mactavish said Shearwater’s case may be a long way off.
“Under normal circumstances, suing an insurer in the Supreme Court is difficult enough; The costs are significant, standard contracts are often insurer-friendly and the court process is long and tedious,” Mactavish said in a press release. “Trying to go that route without even claiming the full insurance contract is extremely challenging.”
However, Mactavish said the number of similar cases currently in court could set a useful precedent before Shearwater’s case goes to trial.
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