Cruise Line Lawsuit Demands $3 Million in Unpaid Debt

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One cruise line is taking an insurance company to court for millions of dollars.

A recent court filing shows that Viking Cruises is suing Arch Insurance Group after the insurance company failed to reimburse millions of dollars to the cruise line.

viking expedition cruise ship
(Photo courtesy of Viking)

The reimbursement was for the travel insurance premiums paid by passengers who could not take their trips due to the pandemic and then the unrest in Ukraine.

Despite Viking Cruises reimbursing the travel protection premiums, Arch Insurance Group has not paid them back, leading to significant unpaid funds.

Viking ‘left out to dry’

According to Viking, Arch Insurance’s payables go back to 2020 and 2021, when the pandemic began. It was forced to cancel numerous cruises at the time because of the health crisis.

In compliance with the law and as a sign of good faith to its passengers, Viking quickly refunded premiums to guests who had purchased travel insurance before departure. The Swiss-based cruise company did the same thing when the unrest in Ukraine caused dozens of cancellations.

viking expedition ocean and river ship in amsterdam netherlands
(Photo courtesy of Viking)

However, instead of issuing reimbursements, Viking was “left out to dry,” making the cruise line shoulder more than $3 million in travel protection premiums.

Viking reasoned that the underwriter never assumed any risk for the policies since no cruise departures occurred. Viking’s attorney, Ryan Rakower, claimed that Arch Insurance profited from its decision to withhold the reimbursement.

Court in early 2024

“By refusing to refund Viking the unearned travel protection premiums, Arch has indirectly profited from Viking’s decision to prioritize guest satisfaction by immediately issuing compensation to guests in the early stages of the pandemic,” Rakower said.

He added that the insurance group’s consistent refusal to issue the reimbursement has had a “staggering” effect on the cruise operator. Viking is a privately held company with a majority of the line owned by founder Torstein Hagen.

Gavel court room
(Image by Arek Socha)

The lawsuit was filed in Jackson County, Missouri’s circuit courts by Viking Financial Services Ltd., the company that handles travel insurance for Viking. Viking’s insurance administrator, Trip Mate, also joined the legal dispute in support of the cruise line.

If both parties cannot reach an agreement, the case will go to court on April 4, 2024.

Last month, another pandemic-related case was laid to rest when Australian courts ruled against Princess Cruises and Carnival Corporation. The lawsuit stemmed from a roundtrip New Zealand cruise that left hundreds of passengers infected with the virus.

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