Insurers in Lebanon have received at least 16,000 claims for estimated losses of close to $1.1bn from last year's 4 August Beirut Port explosions, according to the latest report released in February by the Insurance Control Commission (ICC), Lebanon's insurance regulator. Only $60m of this total has been settled so far.
“The payment of dues by international reinsurers would result in an inflow of over $1.2bn from overseas,” Lebanon's caretaker economy minister Raoul Nehme wrote in a memo through the ICC to the lead investigating judge who is overseeing the probe into the explosions, saying,
The memo added the value of compensations being sought exceed the capital of local insurance entities, reported The National.
The memo pointed out that international reinsurers were withholding compensation payments pending the official outcome of investigations and that most arrangements between local insurance bodies and international reinsurers excluded acts of war and terrorism.
To date, there has been no official report on the causes of the explosions. Without an official report on the causes, insurers and reinsurers are unwilling to pay compensation. if it was to be ascertained that the blast was a result of a terrorist attack or act of war, compensation from insurers would be limited to policyholders who hold terrorism, political risk or war damage cover.
Last December, the ICC urged insurance companies to settle claims related to the blast for the most vulnerable insured clients, without waiting for the findings of the judicial investigation into the incident. Some insurance companies had taken the initiative to pay the claims of affected policyholders without waiting for the official investigation report. These payouts were mainly to small policyholders.