On July 9, it will be six months since the fire that consumed five of the six floors of the cdmx Metro headquarters building and where the Central Control Post (PCC) was located. To date, not only are the opinions that are supposed to have been made by both the insurance company of the Public Transport System (STC) and the independent firm that the capital authorities said they would hire for it unknown, but it has also not been reported how much the damages and losses amount to, and whether these were already covered by the insurer.
Although neither the City Government nor the Metro itself have reported on this, Animal Politico confirmed that according to the contract STC-CNCS-060/2020 the maximum limit of liability that the insurer has with the Metro is 5 thousand 328 million 230 thousand pesos.
You may be interested: Metro has invested $1,835 million pesos in failures and maintenance for Line 12… and counting
All insured risks
Year after year the Metro of the CDMX must renew the insurance of all its facilities and between contract and contract there is not a minute in which the STC is not protected against any accident.
Therefore, every year a contract called “all good, all comprehensive risk of damage insurance of the STC” is signed through which all facilities such as stations, platforms, buildings, cars, trains, substations and others are protected against any risk of loss or physical damage.
Through a request for public information, Animal Politico had access to the document signed by the Metro and the Grupo Mexicano de Seguros S.A. de C.V. with which the contracting of the policy for the whole of 2021 was formalized for the amount 346 million 152 thousand pesos, which must be settled in 12 monthly payments of 24 million 867 thousand pesos without VAT.
The document was signed on December 31, 2020 and nine days later the central metro building, in which the Central Control Post (PCC) was located, was consumed by flames. An accident of a magnitude never seen before.
Half of the Metro network became inoperative. There was no way to get it going and millions of users had to look for options to get around in the city.
On February 19 – 40 days after the fire – the City Attorney General’s Office (FGJ) released the results of the expert report they carried out. The conclusion was that the fire was due to a short circuit.
For weeks there was information about the progress in the restoration of the system, but as the days went by – and as we went through a second wave of covid-19 infections – the issue was no longer reported.
However, while investigations, compensation payments and rehabilitation projects are progressing in another tragedy that starred the Metro four months later – on May 3 – when a section of the elevated viaduct of line 12 collapsed, the fire at its headquarters, where the “brain” for its operation was, there are few answers.
From fires to art theft
The city’s Metro insurance covers 12 liabilities, including fires and property damage to movable and immovable property, rolling stock (trains), machinery breakage, electronic equipment, money and securities; general civil liability, civil liability for the transport of people (users), rare objects and art, among others.
As detailed in the annexes to the contract, underground, elevated and surface stations, central train command and operation systems, monitoring systems and transformers are also considered as the insured goods.
Clause 4 of the annexes to the agreement specifies in detail the maximum limit of liability of the insurance company to the Metro of the CDMX which amounts to 5,328,230,325 pesos. This amount may be reached by the sum of sublimits of liability detailed in the document.
For example, for collision and derailment of trains the limit is the payment of 800 million 430 thousand pesos; for cable theft, 5 million pesos; theft of money at the box office, 125 thousand pesos and 38 million 776 thousand pesos for the damage or loss of temporary art exhibitions.
In the case of civil liability, the maximum limit is 69 million 703 thousand 768 pesos. For the death of Metro users, the maximum contemplated in the insurance policy is the payment of an indemnity of 325 thousand pesos, 307 thousand pesos for medical expenses and 16 thousand 824 pesos for death expenses.
Here it is worth remembering that in the fire of the central facilities of the Metro a policewoman lost her life and the capital authorities informed that all the support would be provided to her family.
Meanwhile, in the tragedy of May 3 that claimed the lives of 26 people, in un first moment it was reported that an indemnity of 350 thousand pesos would be paid (which makes sense to the provisions of the insurance policy contracted), however, after the amount was announced there were claims for the support offered, so the head of government, Claudia Sheinbaum, reported that they would talk to the insurance company so that a greater effort was made in the payment. In the end, the bereaved – those who accepted it – received 650 thousand pesos.
“The supplier must grant the STC an advance equivalent to 30% of the amount estimated by the latter of the damages resulting from the possible occurrence of any loss, within a period not exceeding ten calendar days after the STC supports the amount claimed, “it is stipulated in the sixth clause of the contract.
Thus, if the fire in the “brain” of the Metro occurred on Saturday, January 9, in subsequent days the agency had to estimate and support with the appropriate documentation the amount of the damages so that it received a first payment from the insurance company, however, almost six months after the accident, neither the capital authorities nor those of the Metro have reported how much the losses amount to the fire and how much was already paid by the insurance if there was already, at least, a first payment.
In addition, in this same clause it is detailed that the total payment of the policy “all good all integral risk of insurance of damages of the STC” will be settled “to the 10 days following the delivery of the supporting documentation and the corresponding indemnity agreement”.
On January 10, just one day after the fire, the head of government, Claudia Sheinbaum, reported that work was already being done on different expert reports to find out the causes of the fire. Its results, he said, would be made known to all citizens, but half a year after the tragedy, they have not been made public as was the commitment.
“The corresponding expert reports are currently being carried out to know the causes and, as always, these expert reports will be made known to you and to the citizens, which is the most important thing, and to the users of the Metro. These expert reports are carried out by the Attorney-General’s Office, that is how it should be and that is the case as a rule, also through a third independent company – or an independent company – and also by the insurer itself, because all the facilities are insured. So there are three expert reports that are going to be developed, they are already in that process at the moment and the causes that determine these expert reports will be made known,” Sheinbaum said at a press conference in which she was accompanied by the director of the Metro, Florencia Serranía, who, at the time, repeated this same information.
In an online conference of just 20 minutes, on February 19, the Attorney General’s Office of the CDMX (FGJ) announced the results of the expert report they carried out in the area of the accident.
“The fire referred to originated on the ground floor, specifically in the transformer called TA-1 and was caused by a short circuit in its components, that is, it was a fortuitous and un foreseeable accident,” said María Seberina Ortega López, general coordinator of forensic investigation and expert services of the FGJ.
Although no further information was given since that date, nor are the other expert reports that are supposed to have been made known, the issue of the lack of maintenance to the transformers that provided power to half of the Metro network has been put on the table. These are recitals that are present in the Metro insurance policy and what will be determined or not, the payment of the policy.
In the eighteenth clause of the insurance policy “the provider is obliged to answer for the defects and / or hidden vices and / or deficiencies in the quality of the services object of this contract and for any other liability incurred”.
However, the annexes to the contract dbound further on the subject and clarify the assumptions by which the insurer will not pay the damages.
“In no event shall the insurance company be liable for any loss or damage occurring as a result of normal wear, corrosion, exhaustion, gradual deterioration, inherent defect, oxidation, wet or dry decomposition, ambient humidity, errors in the processing or manufacture of a product. Gradual environmental pollution or other harmful variations of water, atmosphere, soil, subsoil or noise”.
It is important to remember that the transformers where, according to the FGJ, the short circuit was presented, had more than 50 years in operation and that their useful life is about half of this time.
It should also be noted that, in the risks covered, the contract provides that the insurer will pay the gross profits that the Metro has ceased to perceive as result of the paralysis or obstruction of its operations as a result of any of the risks covered.
After the fire, six of the 12 lines in the Metro network stopped operating because their central controls were reduced to ashes. In the following days and in a staggered manner, the six lines were put back into operation.
Since that day, it should be stressed, the service provided by the six lines (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6) is not total and this is specifically due to two reasons: the health crisis that reduced the influx of users in the Metro and the lack of follow-up controls between trains (which burned in the fire), which has forced service with fewer trains and that these pass with a greater frequency to ensure timely reaction in case of an emergency.
According to updated data provided by the Metro to Animal Politico, the average number of users that is transporting the entire network is 2 million 471 thousand 750 passengers per day, that is, 50% of the regular influx that was had before the covid-19 pandemic.
However, regarding the trains in service, the STC reported that prior to the accident, lines 1, 2 and 3 (the oldest and most important in the system) offered service with between 30 and 40 trains each line. Currently on lines 1 and 3 there are 22 and on line 2, 16 convoys.
Read more: Metro Line 12, a lack of control that also affects workers and the quality of service
Anticipating a major accident such as the fire of January 9, the annexes to the insurance policy contract detail the procedure to be followed in case of disagreements between the Metro and the insurance company on the amounts of the losses or damages.
“The matter shall be submitted to an arbitrator appointed in writing by common accord. If they do not agree on the appointment of a single arbitrator, two shall be appointed, one for each party, which shall be done within one month of the date on which one of them was requested by the other in writing. Before beginning their work, the two arbitrators will appoint a third in the event of a dispute,” the document states.
In the event that metro and the insurer do not agree on the arbitrators and the third party in the event of a dispute, the judicial authorities would have to act and require the appointments.
“The arbitration to which this clause refers does not mean acceptance of the claim by the insurance company, it will only determine the amount of the loss that the company would eventually be obliged to compensate. The parties shall be free to bring the actions and to raise the corresponding exceptions.”
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