SC junks Ayala’s P220-M insurance claim over Glorietta blast

MANILA — Publicly listed Ayala Land Inc. (ALI) has lost its appeal in the Supreme Court (SC) in connection with a PHP220-million insurance claim in connection with the Oct. 19, 2007 explosion in Glorietta 2, Makati City.

In its five-page resolution dated Oct. 17, the High Court’s First Division denied ALI’s petition against Standard Insurance Co. Inc. and affirmed the decision of the Court of Appeals (CA) on the case.

“After a perusal of the records of the case, this Court resolves to deny the petition filed by Ayala Land for its failure to show that the CA erred in affirming the dismissal of its complaint for specific performance and damages against Standard Insurance,” the resolution said.

Ayala Land had entered into an “all risks” policy with Standard Insurance and other co-insurers, which included coverage for sudden and accidental physical destruction of or damage to the property”.

The SC noted that Ayala Land had earlier declared – and as found by its own investigators – that the explosion was caused by an explosive device, which constitutes an act of terrorism.

Among the “excluded perils” not covered by the policy, however, were “pollution, whatever the cause” and “acts of terrorism”.

The SC noted that Ayala Land Inc. changed its position that the incident was caused by methane gas and diesel vapor buildup and not a terrorist attack in the basement after another insurer, Malayan Insurance, turned down its claim citing terrorism as an excluded policy.

“To suddenly claim that the explosion was not caused by an explosive device simply because Malayan Insurance denied its (Ayala) claim under its terrorism policy with the latter is merely an afterthought that cannot be considered by this Court,” the tribunal said.

The High Court added that in any case, even if the explosion was indeed caused by the buildup of methane gas and diesel vapor at the basement, Ayala would still be on the losing end as pollution is also an excluded peril under the policy.

“Thus, because of the leakage and buildup of methane gas diesel vapor at the basement, Standard Insurance has a valid ground to deny Ayala Land’s insurance claim,” the SC said.  Benjamin Pulta/