Sat, 16 Sep 2000

Firms promise to cover claims of clients

JAKARTA (JP): Two major auto insurance firms, Garda Oto Insurance and Sinar Mas Mobil Insurance, pledged on Friday to cover the claims of their clients whose cars were damaged in Wednesday's blast at the Jakarta Stock Exchange (JSX) building.

Contacted by The Jakarta Post, executives of the two companies stated the claims would be fully covered as long as the vehicles were insured by the owners under the Strike, Riots and Civil Commotion (SRCC) clause.

According to the head of Garda Oto's indirect business department, Andreas, his company has so far received 19 claims.

A staffer from Sinar Mas, who asked not to be named, said the insurance firm had received "many claims" from its clients, and the company was committed to paying the claims in accordance with the clients' agreements with Sinar Mas.

"But one thing is sure, we will cover only those clients who insured their cars under the SRCC clause with us.

"We have received many claims since yesterday," the staffer said.

Eighty-one cars, mostly sedans and jeeps, including Mercedes Benz, Volvos, Nissan Patrols and BMWs, were destroyed by the blast, believed to be from a high-explosive device inside a car parked in the underground parking of the 34-story JSX building.

Some 110 other vehicles were partly damaged. The owners of these cars complained on Friday items such as tape decks and side mirrors were missing from their vehicles.

Andreas of Garda Oto said paying out on these types of claims was important for insurance firms, or they risked tarnishing their image.

"But if the government later declares this incident an act of terrorism, the insurance companies may have a different view, because in the documents the vehicle insurance does not cover damage caused by acts of terrorism," Andreas added.

He believed such bomb attacks could be seen by insurance companies as a new business opportunity. The companies, he said, could convince car owners to insure their vehicles at higher terms, which would offer greater claim protection at higher fees.

"We actually have a product that covers acts of terrorism, called the Civil Commotion, Terror and Sabotage clause. However, people here prefer not to have it because they never saw the importance of it.

"They may now have a different opinion," Andreas said.

At the JSX building on Friday, dozens of vehicle owners gathered to claim their vehicles from the building. At least five tow trucks were seen waiting to be hired to remove the damaged vehicles from the building.

Employees from several insurance companies, along with their companies' tow trucks, were also at the building. They took pictures of the damaged cars before towing the vehicles out of the parking lot, at no cost to their clients.

Those vehicle owners without insurance were visibly upset.

"I have to pay Rp 200,000 for the tow truck to get my car out and I don't have any insurance," said a man as he examined his damaged Honda Accord sedan, which was still covered in ash. (dja)