Банкеръ Weekly



WHO WILL BE TO BLAME FOR THE DAMAGES?Buildings of state governance in Bulgaria have had bad luck, and as it turns out - not so considerate hosts... After the National Assembly's building was set on fire in the frosty January of 1997, it was established that its broken doors, windows and other property, as well as the Parliament's Mercedes-Benz cars were not insured. Seven years later, on the evening of March 6, the fire broke out in the Council of Ministers building. Now, it turned out that the offices on the ground floor have not been equipped with a fire-alarm system, and the fire was most probably caused by a short circuit in the electrical wiring.The property and the premises of the Council of Ministers have been insured for BGN35MN against fire and natural calamities at DZI-General Insurance. This is the highest insurance, to be paid by the company for a total damage. Losses did not seem serious at the first survey.The thick clouds of smoke were probably due to the burning wooden panelling and cables in the ground floor, Valeri Alexiev, curator at DZI-General Insurance, explained to the BANKER weekly. Several doors and show cases also burned out, Mr. Alexiev claims. It is normal for the insurer to wait at least fifteen days, during which the commission from the Finance and Economic Directorate with the Council of Ministers and afterwards a commission of DZI to establsih the cause of the fire, as well as the size of damage.In the last few days talks began that it was quite logical for the insurer to contest the losses, considering the fact that the insured (the Council of Ministers in this case) has not ensured the necessary fire-precaution conditions within the building. The more so that (as officially announced) the fire department had prescribed measures for protection of the building, which were not fulfilled. And the person or people who should be to blame for the needless damages in the Government's building due to obvious carelessness get lost somewhere in the smoke.It was not exactly known how many employees were inside at about 21.30 hrs. when the fire broke out, but two guards and a fireman were injured while extinguishing the fire. Millions of levs in compensation might be claimed but we should first read the conclusion about the reasons of the fire, how it broke out and at what conditions. Only after that we may speak about the specific size of the indemnity. But we have never said we won't pay, Mr. Alexiev said. He also explained that if the police does not include an explicit remark, binding the degree of protection of premises with the amount of the payable cover, it is taken for granted that the insurer has fully accepted the respective site and may not set additional terms in case of an accident. According to Mr. Alexiev, the building of the Council of Ministers is old but stable, and it is assumed that its protection system is well organized. The premium instalments which state institutions pay under the Public Procurement Act decrease each year. They are calculated in permils of the insurance size and depend both on the worth and state of the insured sites. It is important when the respective building was constructed, what is its fire-alarm system, and what anti-fire protection it has. Rumours spread in insurance circles that the Council of Ministers had paid only BGN12,000 for insurance instalments for the building, but DZI-General Insurance has not confirmed that. Meanwhile, it became clear that the Government's car fleet has been insured this year by the companies Bulstrad and Jupiter. The vehicles have Casco insurance at Bulstrad, and Civil Liability and Accident of Seats at Jupiter.

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