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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

car damaged by seal ~ is the damage payable by Insurer ?

Motor Insurance Comprehensive Polict indemnifies the policy holder against loss or damage to the vehicle insured  and / or its accessories whilst  thereon – caused by named perils -  10 sets of perils starting from : fire, explosion, self-ignition, lightning to  landslide rockslide.  Standard Fire & Special Perils policy specifies ‘impact damage caused by vehicles / animals’.

There are so many animals ..  Sea lions are sea mammals characterized by external ear flaps, long foreflippers, the ability to walk on all fours, and short, thick hair. Found in  tropical waters of the global ocean in both the Northernand Southern Hemispheres, with the notable exception of the northern Atlantic Ocean. Their average lifespan is 20–30 years.  A decade and half-ago, a resort in East Coast Road, Chennai decided to import sea lions and dolphins for performing – they initially attracted larger crowds too ! alas, the poor creatures could not adapt to the Madras climate and slowly died one after the other.  A PSU Insurer had provided cover both for the transit and their lives thereafter – and had to pay compensation to its owner arising out of their untimely death ! – remember that their values were a lakh or so !!!

There are Seals and Sea-lions – and obviously there are some differences between the two species  Both seals and sea lions, together with the walrus, are pinnipeds, which means "fin footed" in Latin. But seals' furry, generally stubby front feet — thinly webbed flippers, actually, with a claw on each small toe — seem petite in comparison to the mostly skin-covered, elongated fore flippers that sea lions possess.  Sea lions have small flaps for outer ears. Seals do not.  Sea-lions are noise.  Sea-lions can walk on land by rotating their hind flippers forward and underneath their big bodies.  That trait makes them vulnerable to be showcased in aquarium ad marine shows !

Pinnipeds  are  widely distributedand diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, semiaquatic marine mammals. Seals range in size from the 1 m (3 ft 3 in) and 45 kg (99 lb) - though not as fast in the water as dolphins, seals are more flexible and agile.  A massive Australian fur seal ran  amok in suburban Launceston, Tasmania, with authorities struggling to keep it under control. The seal  made its way into the suburb of Newstead, sitting on cars causing thousands of dollars of damage and nonchalantly lumbering through the leafy streets. As the  seals can weight up to 300kg, Police  warned locals to keep their distance.

After spending the morning spooking the natives, the seal was finally  cordoned off while sleeping on Penquite Rd, but reports suggest that  it will take police some time to round up the pesky mammal. A police spokeswoman said the Parks and Wildlife Service would arrive shortly to relocate the seal, which wasn't likely to occur until midday due to it's size.  The spokeswoman said the seal had likely come up through nearby river systems, which was common in the area in recent times.

Police have also urged the public to maintain a safe distance to avoid unnecessarily agitating the seal and risk harm to themselves or the animal. .. .. and as an Insurer, do you think the damage caused by seal is payable under the named peril policy ?

What is your opinion – to pay or not to pay ?

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

26th Dec 2016.

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