Insurers Seek to Deny Boat Owner’s Claim in Rhode Island Case

February 18, 2019

The National Liability & Fire Insurance Co. and the Boat Owners Association of the United States are suing a Vermont man in federal court in Rhode Island and are seeking to deny his claim on an $85,000 policy for his boat after it sank near Cape Cod, Mass., during a 2016 trip with his mother.

After Nathan Carman’s boat, the Chicken Pox, sank, he survived for a week on a life raft, while his mother, Linda Carman, disappeared and has since been presumed dead.

The two insurance companies argued that criminal wrongdoing bars Carman’s insurance claim, as he allegedly made faulty repairs to the boat the day before it sank and knew it was unseaworthy, according to the Associated Press.

Carman has previously said he believed his boat was safe.

In a separate action, The AP reported Carman’s family filed a lawsuit in New Hampshire accusing him of killing his mother as well as his grandfather years earlier to collect an inheritance.

In the New Hampshire lawsuit, Carman is accused of being responsible for the 2013 shooting death of his 87-year-old grandfather, John Chakalos, a nursing home administrator and real estate developer, according to the AP.

The National Liability & Fire Insurance Co. has suggested that Carman may have thrown the gun used to kill his grandfather into the ocean.

The Boston Globe reported the company said in a filing that Carman and the rifle were “criminally involved” in his grandfather’s murder, and the weapon “lies at the bottom of the sea.”

In a Jan. 29, 2019, hearing, The Providence Journal reported that U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Patricia A. Sullivan agreed to allow Carman’s testimony from the New Hampshire case to be used in court proceedings over whether Carman’s insurance claim on his boat must be paid.

Sullivan allowed National Liability & Fire Insurance Co. and the Boat Owners Association of The United States to receive Carman’s sworn statements in that case as well as a Windsor, Conn., police investigation into the unsolved shooting death of Chakalos, the Providence Journal reported.

Carman has denied claims of wrongdoing and has never been charged with the death of his mother or grandfather.

National Liability and Fire Insurance Company is a Stamford, Conn.-based provider of P/C insurance and a wholly owned subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Group. Boat Owners Assoc. of the United States is a marine insurer based in Springfield, Va.

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Insurance Journal West February 18, 2019
February 18, 2019
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