How is this for a claim?
Our client was a tenant in the building in Jerusalem that was destroyed in a gas explosion a few months ago. The building collapsed partially, and the city declared it a danger area (in other words the building must be razed to the ground and no one is around allowed to enter). Our client can see the contents of his apartment untouched! However, he can’t physically remove his clothes, fridge, stove and all the other parts of his daily life.
Is this an insurance claim?
The actual apartment doesn’t belong to the client but what about his contents? For all intents and purposes, they are “destroyed or lost”, therefore the insurance company should pay up. This seems especially true if the Iriya were to take down the whole building in order to rebuild it. All his belongings would be destroyed.
The debate: The insurance company invoking the policy wording claimed that this is secondary damage. In other words, the contents are not actually damaged as the result of a fire, explosion or water damage as covered in the policy. They would be destroyed because of a secondary cause, which is not covered. They told our client to sue the Iriya. The Iriya in turn, passed the ball to the gas company who are the prime cause of the trouble!
We are pressurizing the insurance company to pay our client and then have them sue the other parties. This is still under discussion.
In general, what are the options for a person who owns an apartment in a building? Your own apartment is usually insured for the rebuilding value (which is approximately 6,500 NIS sq. meters) but obviously this isn’t enough to buy a new apartment. For example, let’s say your apartment in Rechavia is 100 sq. meters—the insurance coverage will be 650,000 NIS which is not nearly enough to purchase a similar apartment.
What to do? You can add what is called “land value” onto your policy.
This means you can add up to four times the value of the policy. In this case up to 2,600,000 NIS which is much more reasonable.
In the gas explosion scenario, if the apartment would have been totally destroyed (as many were) the difference between the people who had purchased the additional coverage and those who hadn’t, would be very significant. Contact your agent (or us) for more details.
This request really challenged the insurance underwriters!
Our client has a special hobby/interest—making complex, beautiful Sukkah decorations! (This is not your paper-chains or printed Sukkah walls!) The insurance assessor asked her to put a value on them. She worked out the average number of hours spent on each piece plus the cost of materials. Based on a reasonable hourly rate. She came to a figure of 1,500,000 NIS! (Her collection is the fruit of years and years of a labor of love!) The coverage is for fire and water damage (including storm damage) and the Special Risks department agreed to cover her.
Our client was able to display her amazing talent over the Chag and we were able to give her peace of mind.
Baruch Hashem—the collection is safely back in her storeroom, waiting for each coming Succot.
What’s on the insurance shelf?
Article by Shimon Cohen, manager of Egert & Cohen Insurance.
Egert & Cohen is a family business that specializes in serving the Anglo and new olim populations. They provide a friendly and professional one-stopshop for all your insurance needs. Egert & Cohen can be reached at 02-622-7999 or through their website www.egertcohen.co.il.