Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Estate vs AXA

On 12th May, a tragic accident involving a taxi and a Ferrari occurred at a junction along Rochor Road. The accident resulted in the deaths of the Singaporean taxi driver, his Japanese passenger and the Chinese national, Mr. Ma Chi, who was driving the Ferrari.

The accident caused anger in Singapore as Mr. Ma was driving at 150km/hr (speed limit there was 60), and he beat a red light at the junction. Since then, Mr. Ma’s family has been locked in a struggle with the insurance company, AXA Insurance, on the payout of Mr. Ma’s insurance.

AXA is now going to court to avoid paying Mr. Ma’s family, and they are also trying to get money from the family to pay the families of the Singaporean taxi driver and his Japanese passenger. Now a lot of Singaporeans are seemingly applauding this move as it had been reported that Mr. Ma left his wife and two children over $8.1 million. “Serve them right” seem to be the prime feeling right now. 

I will ask the Singaporeans clapping their hands to be very, very careful about what they wish for. This is because if the insurance company wins their case in the high court, you can basically tear up every motor insurance policy in Singapore.

If you look at the case AXA put forward, you will see that they are not arguing the fact that this was an accident. No, their argument is that; although this was an accident, I do not have to pay you because you were at fault for the accident. Not only that, I can take money from your estate to pay the other victims of the accident.

Before you start arguing, just think about this. If the insurance company wins this, what’s to stop them to applying this “test case” to everyone in Singapore? If AXA win this case, this ruling could be applied to everyone in Singapore because every insurance company in Singapore will be looking at this case to see how it can be applied for them! In any accident, there is usually one party that’s at fault. If AXA win the case, doesn’t this means in every accident you get into, you only got a 50-50 chance of getting any payout from your insurance company?

Reckless or not, Mr. Ma Chi had a valid insurance policy and AXA is not only trying not to pay; they are trying to get money from his estate! Think about that, and think about the consequences for all Singaporeans if they win their case, before you clap your hands.


Unknown said...

To my understanding of the case, your argument does not need to be so extreme.

AXA was basically arguing that since Ma Chi was travelling way above the speed limit of the road and did not stop at red light, he was "intentionally" breaking the law "with full consience". (He was not drunk at that time either)

So, for us who has traffic accident "unintentionally", we don't have to be so afraid.

Anonymous said...

Yep, I also think your argument is too extreme. I personally side with AXA too, not becos of "serve them right". That's rather "small-minded" (oops .. I did it again!). But because this case is unique - Ferrari, the kind of speed way way above limit, the reckless nature. I HOPE AXA wins too. It does not seem fair if regardless of the circumstances, even if a person turns his car into a suicide bomb, the insurance company is always liable.

Ghost said...

Define "intentionally". Intentionally means "Done deliberately"; did Mr. Ma Chi intend to crash into the taxi and kill himself?
No but that's what AXA is arguing. So if they win, all of us who got into traffic accident "unintentionally" can also be in trouble if we are at fault for the accident. Not only that, we might even be liable to pay our insurance company for the damages.
Also this case may be bigger (because its a Ferrari and people died) but it isn't all that unique. There was an accident and there was clearly one party at fault for it. There is no reason to believe that if AXA wins, the ruling will not affect others. If fact if they do win, this would be considered a landmark case because the scenerio isn't all that unusual.

theonion said...



The problem is intention'. further unless the court ruling is limited if AXA wins, this will affect all cases.


Unknown said...

With regard to "intention"...

If I intentionally smoke 2 packs of cigarette a day, should I be surprised that I get lung cancer in the future?

If Ma Chi intentionally drove his car at 140-150 km/hr and run the traffic light in front of Bugis Junction, should we be surprised that he hit something somewhere?

I am not surprised. Neither does AXA.

Unknown said...

Sorry, some correction:

"Neither is AXA."

Ghost said...

So you support the fact that insurance companies do not have to pay if their clients are the one at fault for the accident. I don’t. We will have to agree to disagree on this.

Anonymous said...

I thot AXA was fighting the case on the principle that in this case, it was not an accident?

I'm not a lawyer but does that mean that the driver has to do something really really stupid for the crash to be deemed not an accident? Confused.

Ghost said...

That is not entirely correct. AXA is not arguing that this was not an accident. They are arguing that in this case, Mr. Ma Chi intentionally broke the law (beat the red light above the speed limit) with a full conscience (was not drunk). In short, this accident was to be "expected" by Ma Chi due to his driving behavior, so AXA do not have to pay his estate.
To me, that is wrong because why should we be paying different insurance premiums if this is the case? Insurance companies judged the premium we should pay based on our driving xp, safety driving record etc. If AXA says insurance companies should not have to pay due to driver's behavior, then why are different drivers charged differently due to their driving record? We pay insurance companies for motor insurance for cases like this.