Orbcomm’s Insurer Reports Progress on $50M Claim

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The insurance broker representing satellite two-way messaging service provider Orbcomm said Nov. 18 that Orbcomm’s$50 million claim for the loss of all six satellites launched in June 2008 “is proceeding as expected” and should be settled by the end of the year.

“The process is moving forward in a normal fashion and I do not expect there will be any need for arbitration,” said Roger Bathurst, chief executive of London-based Willis Inspace.

Officials from Fort Lee, N.J.-based Orbcomm said Nov. 16 that the company filed a claim for constructive total loss for the six satellites before the insurance policy expired in June 2009. In an interview, they said the claim was based on defects on all six satellites that were known at the time. These defects, they said, clearly met the criteria stipulated in the insurance policy for what is known as constructive total loss.

Constructive total loss is an insurance term describing a satellite that may still be operating but that has lost enough of its functions that it qualifies for a claim under the insurance policy.

The fact that only one satellite had failed completely before the policy expired in June 2009 has no bearing on a finding of constructive total loss.

Three more of the six satellites have failed since the original constructive-total-loss claim. The company said it expects to reach a settlement with its underwriters by the end of 2009 and does not exclude the possibility that it may receive less than $50 million given the fact that there is salvage value in the two remaining satellites that continue to provide partial service.