Mexican Mining Claim Embroils ING in Legal Dispute

ING, the Netherlands-based insurer and financial services company, which controls Comercial America, Mexico’s largest insurer, has been hit by a court order in the state of Morelos, ordering a freeze on the company’s assets and the arrest of several of its employees.

The dispute stems from damages suffered by Group Fertinal, a local mining company, from a hurricane in 2001. The company is claiming $300 million in damages, its policy limit, from Comercial America, which has rejected the amount of the claim. Last Friday a local judge froze the company’s bank accounts, and ordered the arrest of its managers.

According to a report from Reuters, ING management views the court order as thinly veiled blackmail which exceeds all norms of conflict resolution. It has refused to pay the amount, which it says is highly exaggerated, and several of the targeted employees are reported to be in hiding.

The company also assured policyholders, agents and the rest of Mexico that it would continue to operate normally in spite of the court order. It is currently seeking government intervention in an attempt to solve the matter.