Aioi Insurance Co. has asked Mitsubishi Motors Corp. to reimburse the 30 million yen in insurance money it paid out to a person injured in an accident deemed to have been caused by a defect in an MMC truck, Aioi officials said Monday.

Aioi is one of five property and casualty insurance companies that, after revelations of defect coverups, are about to or are already reinvestigating traffic accidents involving vehicles built by MMC and Mitsubishi Fuso Truck & Bus Corp.

The accident occurred in Shizuoka Prefecture at the end of 1999 due to a wheel that came off a big Mitsubishi truck.

Aioi reinvestigated the accident and concluded it was probably caused by a defective wheel hub on the truck. In May, the insurer asked MMC to reimburse it in full for its insurance payout of 30 million yen.

An MMC official said the automaker is holding talks with Aioi on the request because “we don’t think the accident was caused by a design or manufacturing defect in the vehicle.”

Nonlife insurance companies usually ask automakers to shoulder part of the insurance money already paid if accidents are found attributable to defects in their vehicles. The other insurers are Tokio Marine and Fire Insurance Co., Sompo Japan Insurance Inc., Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co. and Nipponkoa Insurance Co.

A number of former MMC and Mitsubishi Fuso executives have been arrested in connection with fatal accidents linked to the vehicle defects. Mitsubishi Fuso was spun off from MMC in January 2003.

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