Insurance against terror attacks finds many takers

October 2nd, 2008 - 4:19 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Oct 2 (IANS) With bomb blasts now becoming a distressingly regular feature, the feeling of insecurity is now leading people to buy stand-alone insurance against terrorist attacks.With one blast after another reported from various parts of the country, the rush at the Internet portal of a broker of New India Assurance is perhaps a barometer of the prevailing insecurity in the nation.

Since June 28, Delhi-based Optima Insurance Brokers has been offering a free terrorism cover with New India Assurance - the first stand-alone insurance policy specifically targeting terrorism, through its Internet arm,

But, it is only free for the first 100,000 applicants.

Since its introduction, the country has been rocked by a series of major blasts in Bangalore, Jaipur, Ahmedabad, Delhi and now, Agartala.

“We already have nearly 18,000 people who have registered for the free cover,” Optima Insurance chief executive officer Rahul Aggarwal told IANS.

So far, terrorism has not been a stand-alone policy, but part of the “personal accident policy”, which Aggarwal described as “not very popular in India”. It is also added as a clause to fire risk insurance with a higher premium, if a client demanded.

Aggarwal said the premium level differentiates according to various categories - 10 paise per Rs.1,000 of cover for house and shops, 15 paise for non-industrial commercial entities and 22 paise for industries.

With “terrorism now touching daily life”, there has been a surge of interest in this policy. “In fact, we are getting requests that they are willing to buy a higher insurance cover. Also, there are concerns if the free policy will be renewed next year,” Aggarwal said.

Immediately after the Delhi blasts, nearly 1,000 people from around the national capital region registered for the insurance cover. A similar trend was witnessed after Jaipur and Ahmedabad blasts.

But, interestingly, about 60 percent of the total registration is from south India. “South Indians are generally risk-averse and have always been the major market for insurance, so it’s not surprising that we got a lot of applications from Bangalore, Hyderabad and Warangal,” he said.

Incidentally, India has a terrorism insurance pool formed by general insurance companies to offset the loss due to the high-risk nature of the cover. Formed after the 1993 serial blasts in Mumbai, the pool has reportedly crossed over Rs.10 billion.

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