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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

sonic book ~ Air France plane interruped ~ Fire Insurance coverage

Fire insurance contract  is "an agreement, whereby Insurer in return for a consideration undertakes to indemnify the other party against loss or damage to  defined subject-matter being by fire or other named perils”.  Section 2(6A) in The Insurance Act, 1938 states :  “fire insurance business” means the business of effecting, otherwise than incidentally to some other class of insurance business, contracts of insurance against loss by or incidental to fire or other occurrence customarily included among the risks insured against in fire insurance policies.  In India, now we have the ‘Standard Fire and Special Perils Policy’ being used by all the General Insurers. The Policy besides recital clause names perils insured, General exclusions and General conditions. 

Western Media reports that ISIS has been reduced to its weakest level in two years under a sustained blitz from British and coalition bombing.  Some 600 fighters have been killed in the past month - bringing the total number of terrorists killed to 25,000 since the campaign began. Britain is the second biggest contributor to the allied air campaign after the United States, No 10 said today.

Elsewhere in UK, loud bangs heard in parts of Yorkshire were sonic booms from Typhoon jets scrambled to identify "an unresponsive civilian aircraft", the RAF has said. The aircraft were launched from RAF Coningsby, in Lincolnshire, on Monday and helped guide an Air France plane to a safe landing in Newcastle. People reported their houses shaking at about 21:50 BST after hearing what sounded like two loud explosions.

These were later confirmed to have been sonic booms.  A sonic boom is created as an aircraft breaks the sound barrier, causing a high-energy shockwave. When an aircraft approaches the speed of sound, the air in front of the nose builds up a pressure front because it has "nowhere to escape", Dr Jim Wild of Lancaster University said. It can be heard over a large area because "it moves with the plane", similar to the wake on the bow of a ship spreading out behind the vessel. The noise is created when an aircraft travels faster than 768mph (1,236 km/h). At that speed the air at the front of the nose of the plane builds up a pressure because it has "nowhere to escape", added Dr. Wild.

Sonic boom that rattled north-east England was caused by Typhoon jets breaking the sound barrier and  racing to intercept an Air France flight that wasn't responding to radio calls.  Terrified homeowners heard loud bangs in Yorkshire last night when Typhoon jets broke the sound barrier to intercept a passenger plane which wasn't responding.  Typhoon jets (like the one pictured) were launched from RAF Coningsby on Monday night to identify an unresponsive civilian aircraft, the Ministry of Defence said. North Yorkshire police sent out several tweets about the noise saying they would investigate the cause.

Air France confirmed that the unresponsive plane had been one of their aircraft which had a radio communication problem but it later landed safely guided by the Typhoon jets. The message over two tweets said: 'Air France confirms that due to a radio communication problem AF 1558 had to be accompanied by two British fighter aircrafts according to the procedure.

Now getting back to Insurance, the All India Fire Tariff was largely simplified and released with a new look effective April 1987 when there were three variants Fire Policy A, B & C. The first two, broadly, covered residences and non manufacturing / storage risks. Based on the perils covered, B & C offered similar protection. Policy A covered 9 perils : Fire, Lightning, Explosion/Implosion, RSMD, Impact damage, Aircraft damage, STFI, Subsidence & Landslide and Earthquake Fire & Shock. B covered only first six perils. C covered first six but the latter 3 could be extended upon payment of additional premium.  Remember that those policies contained text ‘sonic damage’ under aircraft damage section. 

The Standard Fire & Special Perils Policy has 12 named perils and ‘aircraft damage’ is one among the perils named.   It reads : Aircraft Damage:  loss, destruction or damage caused by Aircraft other aerial or space devices and articles dropped there from excluding those caused by pressure waves.

Thus the  loss or damage to the property directly caused by aircraft and other aerial devices and/ or articles dropped there from is covered. However, destruction or damage resulting from pressure waves caused by aircraft travelling at supersonic speed is excluded from the scope of the policy.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

3rd May 2016

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