Sat, 05 Jul 2003

Unofficial fees

I have recently had to suffer through a time without a car as mine was stolen and I found it difficult to obtain money from the insurance company. This was not their fault so much as that of the police.

Somehow, in October/November 1984, the Insurance Council of Indonesia agreed to implement a regulation written by the regional police chief of Greater Jakarta and its surrounds, stating that a letter, which has now come to be called Letter of Information, had to be obtained from the police chief of Jakarta Metropolitan City when reporting a vehicle theft.

This regulation has now been adopted by all the regional police offices in Indonesia. A copy of it is produced by insurance companies to car owners when they protest, quite rightly, at having to produce an unnecessary piece of paper at a cost in "unofficial" expenses that can amount to ten percent of the claim value.

The letter is completely unnecessary because the only thing the police station needs or can quite rightly demand is a letter signed by the original owner stating that they, the police, may release the vehicle that they have recovered, to the insurance company as the insurance company have paid the original car owner's claim. This is called subrogation and is a normal part of the insurance business. No other document is needed nor can be demanded, no matter how the law of property is interpreted.

I am unable to understand why the Insurance Council allowed the police to interfere in the insurance business in this way but I have written to them requesting that they tell the police that they, the insurance companies, will run their own business in future and that they will produce the letter from the original car owner, and no other document.

In obtaining the Letter of Information, I had to get 11 other pieces of paper from various police departments, for all of which I had to pay the "unofficial" expenses. I was lucky in having a friend who was able to get everything for much less than ten percent.

I, as a foreigner, coming from a country where "unofficial" expenses are a rare occurrence and where the majority of the people would not allow them under any circumstances, have not given up hope because my future is tied to this country.

W. WALLER Bandung