BUYING RIOT AND STRIKE INSURANCE

In insurance, riot and strike always go hand in hand, just like suka at bawang, and patis at kalamansi. But you cannot buy riot and strike insurance unless you a basic fire insurance policy, just as suka at bawang is not served except as a condiment to some dish.

Your motor car policy does not cover civil commotion (a term generally meant to take in both riot and strike) and any of its direct and indirect consequences. At your option and at an additional premium, this exclusion can be deleted.

However, even when you have a riot and strike cover, a civil commotion “assuming the proportions of or amounting to a popular rising” is still not covered. If the policies covering those buses that were torched during the last Welgang Bayan included the Riot and Strike Endorsement, the policies would pay as the strike did not amount to a popular rising. But I would not take any bets on this interpretation.

Your life insurance policy covers death resulting from riot and strike. However, the accident riders that are sometimes added to the policy do not. Even if you are willing to pay an extra premium, life insurance companies will not cover riot and strike under the accident riders. The same is true with non-life companies with regards to personal accident policies.

In a marine insurance policy, it is standard practice to include a clause extending the coverage to loss or damage to cargo caused by “strikers, locked-out workmen, or persons taking part in labor disturbances, riots or civil commotion.” In fact, no bank would fund an importation or exportation unless the marine policy covering the shipment included this clause. The premium is a small fraction of the basic marine premium.

If strikers in the last Welgang Bayan torched a truckload of cargo from the South Harbor, the loss would have been  payable under a marine insurance policy so long as the cargo was covered all the way to the importer’s warehouse. (Some policies stop as soon as the cargo is unloaded at the pier.)

In fire insurance, you can buy coverage against loss of or damage to your property resulting from riot and strike only as an extension of the basic policy. In other words, you have to insure your house against fire before you can buy riot and strike insurance. (You can buy a separate policy to cover only against loss of or damage to property by fire directly caused by riot or strike but this is rarely done.)

The standard riot and strike insurance can be expanded to include loss or damage resulting from the malicious act of any person. The coverage can also be extended to deterioration of goods caused by a change of temperature resulting from damage to the refrigerating plant, machinery or equipment.

The Insurance Commission regulates the premium on all these extensions to the fire policy. (Note: The premium rates on all non-life insurance were deregulated in 1994.)

During normal periods, the rates are quite reasonable. For a residential building, the rate is 1/40th of one percent. But for buildings such as government offices, newspaper offices and plants, the rate goes up to 1/10th of one percent.

However, when labor and other disturbances are imminent, the insurance companies are authorized to suspend normal period rates and apply the so-called apprehensive period rates on new policies. For newspaper office, the apprehensive period rate is four times normal.

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