A shrimp fisherman accused of gross insurance fraud and fraud against the insurance company after a dramatic boat fire and shipwreck off Pasi was awarded 3.25 million by the company on Monday.
– I agreed to a settlement because it has been a long time and it is tiring to stand in such a case, especially for the family, former shrimp fisherman Henrik Sørensen (52).
After a five-hour court mediation in Moss on Monday, Hauptricht agreed to pay three million kroner in compensation to Gigenzidic Forsikring.
Sørensen himself kept NOK 700,000 from the case and the dispute with his insurance company.
In addition, he has a debt of about one million kroner on the sunken boat.
– Compensation does not allow me to buy a new boat. But it gives me the chance to move on and put everything behind me and draw a line, says the engineer, who took a truncated package as a technician at TV 2 to become a shrimp fisherman in the Oslo Fjord.
Almost two years ago, on a November day, a fire broke out in the engine room of the shrimp trawler “Tees” off Fuglevik on the Moss.
A gas bottle on board also caught fire.
Rescuers worked for hours to put out the fire before the boat dramatically sank head first.
– The experience is not fully processed. I’m so glad I didn’t go down with the boat. It would have been nice if I was back at the lake, but I splashed more than before. Sorensen says anxiety is taking me a little faster now.
Henrik Sørensen was taken to another boat and taken to hospital by helicopter. There he was treated for smoke inhalation.
Since then, he and co-insurers Havtrygd and Gjensidige have been at odds over what happened.
At the center of the controversy was a large gas cylinder used to cook shrimp:
- According to the insurance company’s own report, before the fire, the gas cylinder is often kept in the cabin through the toilet door.
- Sorensen rejects that. He says it was on the deck as it used to be, and believes it went into the cabin in connection with an accident or the boat being raised later.
He said this in an interview with VG this summer.
The insurance companies asked Sørensen for NOK 1.6 million for costs related to the case. This forced him to take legal action against the insurance companies.
Instead of the value of the boat at NOK 2.9 million, he brought the case that the court costs and interest should be transferred to a total of NOK 4.1 million.
— but in August the insurance company bounced back based on photographic evidence that showed the gas bottle was on deck. Photos show traces of soot and fire damage where they stood, Sorensen explains.
The insurance company should have claimed that the 59 kg gas cylinder was illegally stored below deck.
– It felt like a win when I got that email from the other party and they finally saw what everyone else saw. Sorensen asks, “I’m relieved of course, but my God, do they have to spend a year on it?”
The parties are scheduled to meet in district court on Sept. 25 to decide whether Sorensen committed insurance fraud and whether to drop his insurance.
– But the judge at Fredrikstad District Court recommended mediation.
– It is terrible to have such a doubt about yourself, and of course there is a lot of work. Additionally, Havtrygd and Gjensidige took away the opportunity to be a fisherman, which was my dream career. Both because I lost my sales place in Moss and couldn’t afford a new boat.
Recently, Fredrikstadmannen worked again as a technician at TV 2, and he partially lived with his wife, who works at NRK.
Bjarte Wallevik is a casualty manager at Havtrygd Gjensidig forsikring and says there is new evidence in the case, meaning there is no basis to maintain charges of fraud or insurance fraud against Henrik Sørensen in August.
– There was new photographic evidence to support his explanation, he tells VG.
– What do you think about him saying that you missed the opportunity to catch shrimp?
– I don’t need to comment much on that. Our job is to treat everyone equally and investigate to confirm or disprove suspicions. Here we found no basis for claiming fraud and immediately withdrew the claim, says Walevik.
– What do you think about the hardship that Henrik Sørensen and his family have endured for so long?
– I can understand that this is an unpleasant situation. I totally understand that.
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