Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Mumbai terror attack and Indian Insurance Industry

They can rip us apart, they can blow everything to bits, they can pump bullets into our businesses but we — our core undefeated and intact — pick up the pieces fast and restore ourselves. They can gut our hotels but they can’t destroy our guts.
INDIA FIGHTS BACK - Economic times.

First, our deep condolence to the people, who are victims of Mumbai Terror attack. As citizens of India, we have insights, creativity, and positive energy to spare; our entrepreneurs possess a rare indomitable spirit.

Let us start our first discussion topic.

How does Mumbai terror attack affects the Insurance Industry? Which insurers will bear the impact of Taj, Oberoi damage bills?

Mumbai saw its iconic structures being burnt and damaged in the terror attacks. But experts believe, while the trauma will weigh heavily, both properties are sufficiently insured.

The insurance industry is bound to feel a ripple effect. There will be loss on account of, the loss of life that has happened and also on account of the loss of assets in act of terrorism.

In case of life-insurance companies, there would be a direct impact on the companies who would have covered the lives of the individuals.

It will take a while to ascertain the total damage the terror attack has caused to the premier properties, and to the business of both, Oberoi -Trident and Hotel Taj. They have the terrorism cover to shield them with not just property damage, but also the interruption in business till the time they are restored.

Tata AIG, ICICI Lombard and Iffco Tokio are the insurers of Hotel Taj. New India Assurance provides cover for the Oberoi-Trident. Most experts believe that as both Taj - Oberoi - Trident are a part of listed companies, they would reassess regularly the value of their properties and hence, would be sufficiently insured. Therefore even if the cover exceeds the terrorism pool limit, insurance companies would have had additional reinsurance from GIC or international reinsurer.

Meanwhile, we have learnt that Tata AIG has provided the liability cover to both Taj Mahal Hotel and Oberoi-Trident. We also understand that insurance companies have started the process of assessing the damage, but will be able to ascertain it only after two weeks or more. And while the memories of burning Taj Mahal will weigh heavily, at least the financial burden will be eased with the insurance backing.

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