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Ransom access: are you covered?

india Updated: Jan 12, 2007 20:21 IST

Insurance majors are not crowing about it and clients are being asked to keep it under wraps. But the recent spate in kidnapping, ransom and extortion across the country has sent high net-worth individuals, senior management executives and celebrities scurrying for cover to insurance companies.

Companies like Tata AIG, National Insurance Company, ICICI Lombard, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company have devised a kidnap and ransom (K&R) policy. While there are no upper or lower limits, the policy covers typically a range between $1 million and $5 million (about Rs 4.4 crore and Rs 22 crore).

"We do consider proposals by our existing clients who would like a kidnap, ransom or extortion cover. But, we entertain only those clients who have a long relationship with us," says National Insurance Company Chief Manager R Shiv Kumar.

Most insurance majors are also offering a policy that provides coverage for losses incurred as a result of kidnapping: bodily injury or property damage. In all cases, the insurers insist on confidentiality of cover as they fear that publicity could lead to fraudulent claims.

"The cover being extended to individuals within the company is a slightly far-fetched idea, but within Adobe globally the top management team has such a cover," says Adobe India Managing Director Naresh Gupta whose son, Anant, was kidnapped in November 2006. Adobe opted for this cover in the wake of the abduction of its founder and then president Charles Geschke in 1992, adds Gupta.

"This policy is targeting medium to large companies, especially those with operations and facilities outside India. Companies that require their employees to travel to high-risk areas in India and outside are opting for it," says a TATA AIG Insurance Co agent who did not want to be named.

Premium depends on the features a client opts for: from actual ransom amounts, transit cost of monies to death or dismemberment during an incident. The policy offered is re-insurance backed.

Expert consultants of the international re-insurers also help companies prepare for and respond to incidents in order to bring the victim home safely. TATA AIG, for instance, works with Clayton Associates who are leaders in hostage negotiations and private security as well as Hill and Knowlton, specialist crisis management public relations consultants.

Email Prerna K Mishra: pmishra @hindustantimes.com

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