In August of the current year, upon evaluating damages caused to the building of Liepāja Secondary School No.10 as a result of lightning stroke, in accordance with the terms and conditions of the insurance contract concluded between BTA Baltic Insurance Company (hereinafter - BTA) and Liepāja City municipality, BTA disbursed the maximum insurance indemnity, defined for one insured event - 71 200 euros. This is the biggest indemnity disbursed by BTA in the current year for damages caused to buildings as a result of lightning.
The chimney of the building of Liepāja Jānis Čakste Secondary School No.10 was struck by lightning in the evening of 25 June, but it started to burn only on the next morning, when firefighters were called, who then extinguished the flames. However, on the morning of 27 June smouldering was observed again in the roof timbers of the school building and the fire service was called again. The building sustained significant damages as a result of the fire and extinguishing works.
Having considered the insurance claim as well as construction expert’s opinion regarding the damages caused to the building, BTA made a decision to disburse the maximum amount of the insurance indemnity for one insured event - 71 200 euros, defined as the upper threshold in the insurance contract concluded with Liepāja City municipality.
“On 27 June, when we received information of a recurring smouldering in the roof structure of the building of Liepāja Jānis Čakste Secondary School No.10, a construction expert, assigned by BTA, surveyed the accident site. Having evaluated the works to be performed in order to fix the damages, the potential amount of indemnity was calculated, and it was established that the amount of money required for damage repairs exceeds the maximum sum insured, defined in the insurance contract for one insured event. As a quick response, in order to enable the performance of the lightning stroke damage repair works, BTA made a proactive decision to disburse the maximum possible indemnity under the concluded insurance contract - 71 200 euros, without waiting for completion of repair works and documents certifying the construction company’s eligible expenses. There is not much time left until the beginning of the academic year, and we hope that the indemnity disbursed as a quick response to the accident will help to put the building into order before pupils arrive” says Iveta Rijniece, Director of BTA Insurance Claims Handling Department.
As the officials of Liepāja City municipality say – at the moment the most urgent and essential works to be performed are dismantling and restoration of the damaged load bearing constructions of the building. Also, replacement needs include the heat insulation watered during the fire extinguishing works, the suspended ceiling and the boarding of ceiling, the damaged chimney has to be restored, wiring changed, and the water damaged premises face-lifted. Liepāja City municipality has calculated that the fire damage repair needs will require more than the maximum sum insured provided for one insured event by the contract concluded. The gap between the indemnity disbursed by BTA and the amount that will actually be necessary to fix all damages caused by the lightning stroke, will be covered by Liepāja City municipality from its contingency needs budget.
In June and July of this year, BTA has received 21 insurance indemnity claims for damages caused by lightning to buildings, which is three times more than the indemnity claims received during the summer period of the previous year. Most often television sets, routers and computers have suffered as a result of lightning strokes. Besides, there are also cases, when the alarm systems and household appliances are damaged.
“Lightning is a frequent phenomenon during the summer period in Latvia, besides BTA statistics and observations of the recent years indicate that lightning causes losses even more often not only to buildings, but also to household appliances, TV and audio equipment and other movable property. Considering the fact that according to statistics of BTA in most cases caused by lightning strokes - approximately 70% of events – it is the movable property that gets damaged, we recommend inhabitants to definitely insure also the movable property that is located in the dwelling, including electronic appliances, in addition when insuring the dwelling. At the same time, when assessing the terms and conditions of the insurance of the immovable and movable property, inhabitants should make sure, whether the insurance policy also covers losses caused by lightning,” says I.Rijniece.
BTA is one of the largest indemnity payers in Baltics. Last year BTA has disbursed an average of 282 thousand euros each business day in insurance indemnities in the Baltic States, which makes it 35.4 thousand euros every working hour.
AAS BTA Baltic Insurance Company was founded in 2014, after reorganisation of BTA Insurance Company SE, performing successful division of the company according to the geographical distribution of its business operations: Baltics and rest of Europe. BTA Insurance Company SE, being the parent company of AAS BTA Baltic Insurance Company, has been successfully operating on insurance market for more than 20 years, in 2009 becoming the third biggest insurer in Baltic States. The international growth of BTA is proven by the TOP 500 of Central European Companies issued by the international auditor company Deloitte for year 2013, where BTA ranks among 50 largest insurance companies in Central Europe.
In December 2015 AAS BTA Baltic Insurance Company concluded a contract about attraction of an investor – one of the leading insurers in Europe – Vienna Insurance Group AG (VIG). The deal shall be completed after receiving all the necessary permits from the authorities, supervising the operation of the industry, which might take place in summer of 2016.
Public Relations Manager
AAS BTA Baltic Insurance Company
Phone: +371 67025661, mobile: +371 27828796