IAI Files Lawsuit Over Lost Satellite

Falcon 9 explodes on the launch pad during fueling. (Credit: USLaunchReport.com)

The fallout from the explosion of a Falcon 9 on the launch pad in September 2016 continues with a dispute over an insurance payment, Globes reports.

Israel Aerospace Industries Ltd. (IAI) (TASE: ARSP.B1) today filed a NIS 300 million [$88 million] lawsuit at the Central District Court against Lloyd’s of London underwriters, the insurers of the Amos 6 satellite; Migdal Insurance and Financial Holdings Ltd. (TASE: MGDL) subsidiary Peltours Insurance Agency; and UK broker Marsh.The lawsuit involves the explosion of the Amos 6 satellite in September 2016 before its scheduled launch from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and the insurance compensation due to IAI from the satellite’s loss. Following the explosion of the satellite and negotiations between the parties, the insurers paid IAI $215 million in compensation. A dispute remains between the parties over the NIS 300 million not yet paid to IAI, for which a lawsuit has now been filed.

The insurers main argument is that the satellite exploded during a test of the launching rocket’s engines at a time when the satellite was connected to the rocket. They assert that they were not notified that the satellite would be attached to the rocket during the test, and that the insurance coverage should therefore be reduced by the increased rate of risk.

Through Advocates Ilan Sofer, Guy Wilf, and Jonathan Dori from the Goldfarb Seligman law firm, IAI is arguing that the explosion did not take place during a test of the engines, according to the statement by the SpaceX company, owned by Elon Musk, which was responsible for launching the satellite into outer space, and that by law and under the terms of the insurance policy, no notice was required, as claimed by the insurers.