The company is suing the reinsurers despite not having seen the relevant policy documents
By Ryan Smith
An aircraft leasing company is seeking an $80 million claim for commercial planes lost to Russia after the invasion of Ukraine, even though the claimant has yet to see the relevant items. policy document.
Shearwater Aircraft Leasing made the claim, related to the loss of two commercial aircraft it leased to Russian aviation group Norwind, according to a report by UK insurance broker Mactavish. Norwind failed to return the plane when the war in Ukraine began and continued to use it despite Shearwater’s repeated attempts to return it — a practice common to many Russian airlines, Mactavish said.
In a legal claim against the insurers, Shearwater alleged a total loss of the aircraft, claiming that Norwind’s retention of the aircraft led to their effective loss.
“Norwind continues to operate and fly each of the aircraft within and across Russia, contrary to the demands and/or instructions of the claimants, and despite the fact that the BCAA Certificates for of each of the aircraft being withdrawn and/or repossessed and/or that the lease of each of the aircraft has been terminated,” said Norwind’s claim document.
Defense documents have not yet been filed in the case, according to Mactavish. However, insurers have refused to pay in both cases, arguing that the total loss claims are invalid because the plane still exists.
There are more than 20 cases currently operating in the courts related to unpaid claims for aircraft lost in Russia, Mactavish reported.
The unusual thing about this case is that Shearwater is suing in connection with an insurance policy taken out by its client, Norwind, who still uses the aircraft. And instead of suing Norwind or the main insurers, all of whom are Russian and subject to sanctions, Shearwater sued the reinsurers. Shearwater said in its filings that it had not been provided with copies of the insurance policies for the aircraft.
Mactavish said that Shearwater’s case may be a long shot.
“Suing an insurer through the High Court is very difficult under normal circumstances; the costs are high, the standard contracts are often insurer-friendly and the court process is long and arduous,” Mactavish said in a news release. “Trying to continue this path without even the benefit of a full insurance contract is very difficult.”
However, Mactavish said the number of similar cases going through the court system now could provide a useful precedent before Shearwater’s case goes to trial.
Is there anything to say about this story? Let us know in the comments below.
Keep up with the latest news and events
Join our mailing list, it’s free!