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The Collaborative Clearinghouse for Lawsuits and Other Claims Against ACE Group Insurance Companies

ACE Unit Sues to Collect on Client’s Equipment Loss

December 4th, 2012 - Indemnity Insurance Co. of North America has sued a freight forwarder it believes is accountable for damages caused when a client’s ocean-bound cargo was destroyed in a fire.

The ACE Group unit joined fellow insurers Continental Insurance Co., RLI Insurance Co. and Zurich Insurance Co. in their lawsuit against deugro (USA) Inc. They filed suit as subrogees of

McDermott Inc., their client and also a named plaintiff in the suit that was filed in U.S. District Court in Houston against the German-based transport company.
McDermott, a Houston-based engineering and construction firm that specializes in  the oil and gas industry, had reportedly hired deugro to transport an “APV skid assembly” to its facilities in Singapore. The equipment was en route to its destination near Aalborg, Denmark when the tractor trailer it was being transported on caught fire.

The ensuing blaze destroyed the assembly. McDermott filed a claim with the insurers, and they paid $367,728 in damages and related costs.

The lawsuit said that there was an agreement between McDermott and deugro that the freight forwarder would provide custom brokerage services, forwarding and transportation of products for its client. As a part of the deal, deugro reportedly said that it would be responsible for all loss or damage to McDermott cargo caused by acts or omissions by the transporter.

The lawsuit said that McDermott submitted a claim to deugro following the loss, but that so far, the defendant has not indemnified its client. That, the plaintiffs said, makes it in breach of its freight forwarding servicing agreement.

The insurers said that deugro failed to act with due care to protect the cargo from harm, and failed to hire competent carriers. Further, the complaint said deugro was in complete control of the cargo.

The insurers asked for damages of their payout to McDermott. And McDermott, which also is a plaintiff, asked for $500,000 in uninsured losses.

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