July 17, 2011

CHINA: Elderly couple sues insurance firm for nightmare vacation

SHANGHAI, China / The Shanghai Daily / Metro / Courts / July 16, 2011

By Yang Jian  

A local couple is asking for 900,000 yuan (US$139,320) from an insurance company and a farm resort after the wife became disabled from carbon monoxide poisoning during a free trip sponsored by the insurance company, a court has heard.

The Shanghai Ping An Insurance Co offered a two-day trip to Zhejiang Province to those who bought its insurance in February 2009. The couple in their 50s went for the deal, the husband surnamed Liu told the Jing'an District People's Court.

Staffers of the insurance company accommodated them and other clients in a farming resort. About 3am on the first night, the resort boss surnamed Xiong found the couple being poisoned by leaking carbon monoxide. The couple was unconscious with symptoms of vomiting and incontinence and were sent to a nearby hospital, Xiong told the court.

Liu recovered but his wife surnamed Tang is still unable to walk and has incontinence despite more than 200,000 yuan worth of medical care, Liu said.

From Shanghai, 180 kilometers away, lies Hangzhou, the capital of the Zhejiang province. Illustrative photo courtesy venere.com

Liu insisted the insurance company should bear the major responsibility but the company argued to the court that the travel was organized by its agents.

An insurance agent surnamed Zhang who also accompanied the clients on the trip told the court that the travel was organized jointly by him and other agents rather than the company itself.

But another agent surnamed Lu who signed the insurance contract with the couple told the local Youth Daily that the company asked agents to organize the travel.

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