In January of 2011, 10 ACE Group Companies agreed to pay $70 million in settlement fees to the New York Workers’ Compensation Board after an investigation into whether certain insurance companies had been overcharging policyholders.
Boat Owners Sue ACE Unit to Collect on Damaged Engines
Bryan and Kimberley Messier, of Exeter, Rhode Island, owned a 1999-model Bayliner 3055 Ciera powerboat that they insured with the ACE Group unit. Their yachtsman policy was in effect for a year beginning June 25th, 2012.
Just six days into the policy period, Bryan Messier was piloting the boat from Warwick Cove Marina on July 1st, 2012, when an engine hose ruptured. That allowed the engine compartment to become flooded with salt water.
Messier deployed bilge pumps and patched the hose suitably enough for him to limp to the safety of a slip at the Apponaug Harbor Marina. Once there, he notified ACE of the incident and received a claim number.
A surveyor was assigned to the claim on July 2nd, but Messier said he was informed the surveyor would not be able to review his claim until July 6th. Meanwhile, he said he was told by two marine repair facilities that both of the boat’s engines likely would have to be replaced because they had been fully submerged in salt water.
On July 14th, Messier said he was informed by ACE that there was nothing wrong with the engines. Four days later, he and a licensed marine repair specialist found that internal rust was present in both engines and the starboard engine was inoperable.
Messier said that on July 30th, ACE notified him that both engines were operational when they were inspected. But the next day, he discovered that the port engine would not run either, according to the Complaint.
As ACE has not made any payment on their claim, the Messiers accused the insurer, in a Rhode Island state court action, of breach of contract and fiduciary duties. They also charged the company with bad faith dealing and asked the court to award them compensatory and punitive damages.
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