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Kahtal Resorts wins insurance claim for damaged vessel

InternationalKahtal Resorts wins insurance claim for damaged vessel

by Kristen Ku

TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO, Mon. Mar. 4, 2024

The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) has reached a final verdict in the dispute between Kahtal Resorts International Limited and the Insurance Corporation of Belize Limited.

In the decision dated March 1, the CCJ dismissed an appeal by the Insurance Corporation of Belize, thereby affirming the judgment of the Court of Appeal of Belize.

The case, formally referred to as Insurance Corporation of Belize Limited v Kahtal Resorts International Limited [BZCV2023/004], centered on a claim by Kahtal Resorts International Limited for compensation due to damage to one of their vessels which sank during a thunderstorm.

The initial appeal, pushed by the insurers, was made on the grounds of Exclusion Clause 15 within the insurance policy which explained that “no claim would be allowed for loss or damage while the vessel is moored unless it resulted from a collision with another vessel.”

However, after an extensive debate on the technicality of the clause, the Court of Appeal of Belize, and now the CCJ by a majority of 3 to 2, have refuted the insurer’s interpretation of the term “moored,” favoring the policyholder.

Belize’s Justice Denys Barrow, in dissent, held that the clause’s intention was clear to exclude stationary vessels from coverage. Despite this perspective, the prevailing view was that the policy did not intend to exclude a vessel in such a scenario, especially when the term “moored” could carry different meanings.

This ruling paves the way for Kahtal Resorts International Limited to recover the compensation previously denied to them.

The judgment is considered a significant example in the interpretation of insurance policies related to marine vessels and the rights of the insured to compensation for damages.

The insurance company is expected to comply with the decision and proceed with the compensation payout to Kahtal Resorts.

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