Unattended Items, can we make a claim?
Encik Bakar’s (not his real name) bag was stolen while he was talking to the receptionist at a hotel in France. He had his bag near the reception desk and noticed it was missing after speaking to the receptionist.
Insurer B had repudiated the claim on the grounds that Encik Bakar had left his bag unattended in a public place.
Investigation and Findings
The following findings were observed by the Case Manager:
a) The Insurer had referred to provision stated under Exclusions applicable to Benefit 7, which states:
8. Loss or theft of property left unattended in a public place or in an unattended vehicle or as a result of the Insured’s failure to take due care and precautions for the safeguard and security of such property
b) Encik Bakar had left his bag next to a chair near the reception desk.
c) Based on the photos of the hotel reception area, the Case Manager noted that the placement of the bag was within reach of Encik Bakar.
d) Although Encik Bakar was momentarily inattentive while he talking to the receptionist, he knew that the bag was gone immediately after the conversation.
The Case Manager quoted the test that was set out in the case of Starfire Diamond Rings Ltd v Angel i.e. “there must be someone able to keep… [the property]… under observation, that is, in a position to observe any attempt to interfere with it, and who is so placed as to have a reasonable prospect of preventing any unauthorised interference with it…” and explained to Insurer B that Encik Bakar’s momentary inattention cannot be construed that the bag was left unattended as he does not need to have an all-round vision of the bag for the whole time.
Insurer B agreed with the explanation and made an offer Encik Bakar within the limits as set out in the policy and he accepted the offer.