Plantation Bay Holdings (PBH) has filed criminal charges against Standard Insurance and its alleged co-conspirators, Philinsurance and Crawford & Co., for their alleged refusal to pay over half a billion pesos in claims for damages that the Cebu resort incurred during Typhoon Odette.
The complaint for 12 counts of estafa and violation of the Insurance Code was filed at the Office of the City Prosecutor in Makati recently.
Aside from the owners John B. Echauz and Patricia Echauz Chilip, other Standard Insurance executives charged were Edith D. Summit, Sophia E. Chua, Noel T. Molina, Leticia C. Tendero, Maria Christina T. Galang, Anne Krystel L. Leander, Divina D. Mitra, Edena H. Enfestan, and Janet R. Inoceno.
The Philinsurer executives named in the complaint are chairman Edward Gaisano, president and CEO Gordon Alan “Dondi” P. Joseph, SVP Emmaline Carla L. Wamilda, CFO and COO Helen B. Carlos, EVP Jacqueline P. Wenceslao, Joseph Davidson C. Gaisano Jr., John Gaisano Jr., Virginia Gaisano, Alexander Gaisanon, Oscar Chua, Dany G. Pastoril, Lynette Go Dy Hian To, Rizza Marie Mangubat Gariando, Richard Duncan Heath, Vyvienne Yvonne Alexandra, and Daniel Barlicos.
The Crawford executives charged were chairman and president Veronica Grigg, EVP Simon Mark Shaw, Tami E. Stevenson, Lee Wee Pin, Alasdair Carnduff, Arjay Macatangay, Roel O. Camorro, and Gabriel Tomas M. Habana.
PBH, which is owned by businessman Manny Gonzales, was forced to pursue legal action after Standard Insurance dragged its feet on the payment of the company’s P540.2-million insurance claim, which was filed in March 2022.
The five-star Plantation Bay Resort and Spa in Mactan suffered extensive damage when Typhoon Odette hit Cebu on December 16, 2021.
Under the Insurance Code, Standard is mandated to pay in full valid claims within 90 days after the claimant submits proof of losses. PBH said Standard’s cohort, Crawford, the world’s largest claims management company, took seven months to complete its investigation or adjustments.
PBH included Philinsure as a co-conspirator in the case because without its help, “Standard Insurance would not have been able to repeatedly offer and sell its insurance policies to the complainant and received premiums from the latter.”
The company also tagged Crawford as a co-conspirator for helping Standard to “profit from the crime” by adjusting the resort’s P540.179 million claim to only P174.726 million based on the 35 percent depreciation rate.
PBH claimed Standard and its cohorts committed estafa since 2010 with the annual renewal of the insurance policy which promised to indemnify the replacement value of the resorts’ insured properties.
As of the filing of the complaint, PBH claimed it has only received P80 million as indemnity from the insurer, with the unpaid balance amounting to P460.179 million.
PBH said Standard offered P174.726 million to settle the insurance claim in November 2022 but the company rejected the offer, accusing the “award winning” insurer of “maliciously and underhandedly trying to fool” the resort into a total waiver and quitclaim of all its right to recover the balance of its claims.
The resort operator said the settlement could be Standard’s modus to defraud clients who are desperate for payment to recoup their losses.
PBH alleged that Standard also refused to indemnify the resort’s employees who were tapped to clear and rehabilitate the resorts instead of hiring a third party firm, which would have cost more.
The company said Standard also insisted on replacing 360 Acacia and royal palm trees, some of which cost P2 million each, with saplings that cost P2,000 apiece.