Philippine Supreme Court backs insurers in denying mall blast claim

Both theorised causes of the fatal explosion fall under policy’s excluded perils, says court

Philippine Supreme Court backs insurers in denying mall blast claim

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The Philippines’ Supreme Court has ruled that an insurer had valid grounds in denying cover for a shopping mall explosion in 2007 that resulted in 11 deaths.

In a resolution released on November 14, the Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts’ dismissal of a complaint by Ayala Land Inc., the mall’s owner, against Standard Insurance Co., for dismissing the claim, which the insurer said was due to an excluded peril, GMA News reported.

The lower court’s decision outlined that Ayala Land cannot make a claim under its policy with Standard Insurance, “since the loss or damage of the property insured was caused by an ‘excluded peril’ under the policy.”

The policy’s excluded perils were the following: pollution, war, invasion, mutiny, military or popular uprising, martial law, and acts of terrorism.

Ayala Land had claimed that the blast was caused by an explosive device, which, according to the court, “constitutes an act of terrorism.”

Another theorised reason for the blast was a build-up of methane gas and diesel vapour in the mall’s basement, but even if this was the cause of the explosion, the court said that it would still fall under the excluded peril of pollution.

Whether the blast was actually caused by a gas build-up or an explosive device is irrelevant, the Supreme Court noted, because it is not a trier of facts.

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