Sunday, 4 December 2011

Closure Begins

Lost in the recent weeks of hockey action is one city's struggle to close the book on the tragedy that took place this summer. Yaroslavl Lokomotiv is still coping with the loss of their hockey heroes, and there are a number of families still working through their own losses as the winter pushes forward. In no way will I make light of this situation at all because that would be heartless and cruel, and I believe in supporting our Russian hockey brethren and their fans and families as they try to close this dark chapter in their hockey history. Thankfully, there was some good news to pass on as the KHL released a very important press release on November 30, 2011.

Without getting long-winded, I'll just present the letter in its entirety. It is nice to see that some of the families are getting monetary help at this point.

Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) official insurer and corporate partner SOGAZ Insurance Group has made the first payment in relation to the fatal air crash on the 7th of September, in which members of Yaroslavl’s Lokomotiv hockey club perished. Five million rubles has been paid to the bereaved relatives of one of the foreign players from the team.

"The player’s legal representatives supplied us with the necessary documentation in mid-November. We were able to process the insurance payment within a week," said Larissa Terskaya, director for claims handling and supervision of personal insurance programs, SOGAZ Insurance Group.

As of today, relatives (or their representatives) of ten of the deceased players have applied to the company. In five cases the company sent answers to inquiries from notaries currently arranging certificates of inheritance.

"Insofar as none of the deceased players had designated a beneficiary in any insurance agreements, for the purposes of insurance payments the beneficiaries can be considered to be the legal heirs, as defined by the authorities of the countries of which the deceased players were citizens. According to the laws of the Russian Federation, the legal heirs are defined on the expiry of a term of six months from the day of the death of the insured party. Only after this period can a notary issue a certificate of right to inherit, which is necessary for receipt of insurance payments. Owing to this, the bereaved relatives of those Lokomotiv players who were Russian citizens will be able to receive the relevant insurance payments from March of 2012. Nonetheless, we welcome applications at any time," Larissa Terskaya added.

As stated earlier, SOGAZ Insurance Group is both a partner and insurer of the Kontinental Hockey League for the 2011/2012 season, providing accident insurance coverage for players appearing in the KHL. The deceased players of HC Lokomotiv were insured by SOGAZ for a total of 98 million rubles. The processing of the documentation for payments is being carried out in close cooperation with the KHL players’ union, headed by Andrei Kovalenko, in accordance with existing legislation and the accident insurance contracts of players of the Kontinental Hockey League.

For bereaved relatives of the deceased players there is further information, including contact phone numbers, a list of relevant documents, and application forms for insurance payments, to be found in a special section on the SOGAZ Insurance Group’s official Internet site
While there are no names mentioned, one player's family did receive a payout. I don't have any particulars about the insurance policies that the KHL has with its players, but five million rubles is approximately $159,000 USD, and the 98 million rubles converts to approximately $3.13 million USD. Look, I'm not here to pass judgment on the amount of money that the players were insured for, but that $159,000 is a good chunk of change that will help one player's family.

I'm sure there will be more paid out in the coming days and weeks, and that's a good sign. While this tragedy can never be forgotten, the healing process can move forward with the KHL and its insurance company making things a little easier on the families.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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