French Expert ReportKielland memorial

The platform manager’s life insurance policy

Were there signs of the platform manager being afraid of an accident?
Written by Norwegian Petroleum Museum

Platform Manager Torstein Sæd arrived at Kielland a few hours before the rig capsized. He was one of the 123 men who perished in the accident. Right before the accident his life insurance policy was increased. Some question if this was due to him being worried about something happening. Did he know that there was something wrong with the rig? Did he fear that he wouldn’t ever return?

After the accident, these questions surfaced under the lawsuits in 1986. The insurance companies that the Sæd had been in contact with testified about the matter. Insurance agent Alf O. Sivertsen could confirm that the Sæd had contacted him to draw up an insurance policy which was would come into effect a short time before the accident. In this conversation, Sivertsen informed Sæd that the chosen policy would be the most beneficial in terms of taxes. The change in the policies was due to tax reasons. Kielland had been given a new contract in British waters. This could be beneficial for his tax bill, seeing as it was outside of Norwegian waters.

Instead of choosing the insurance policy that would give his family the highest payout, Sæd chose the policy that would reduce his taxes the most. This means that it was unlikely a fear of an impending disaster which had motivated his change of policy. On the contrary, Sæd was looking to maximize his economic potential from Kielland.

Insurance agent Alf O. Sivertsen’s testimony is available to read here.

Sæd had also been in contact with Kåre Askeland from Stavanger Vesta Insurance who also could confirm that he had first and foremost wanted to reduce his tax burden, available here.

Sæd’s life insurance is also mentioned in the French Expert Commission Report, who reached the same conclusion.


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