Additional Cover For U.S. Civilians In War

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By Daniel Hays

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NU Online News Service, April 1, 10:48 a.m.EST?Civilian employees of U.S. companies who are injuredor killed in the Iraq war zone in some cases can get coverage thatextends beyond limited workers' compensation benefits, according toinsurance industry sources.

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Hiscox Syndicate in London is actively promoting war personalaccident insurance for persons traveling in the vicinity or withinthe "war zones" surrounding the conflict with Iraq.

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Hiscox said it is offering the coverage for news correspondentsand non-military medical support personnel with no territorialrestrictions.

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The coverage would include terrorism, ?dirty bombs' andbiological/chemical attack, but would exclude full nuclearexplosion. Hiscox told brokers it was offering the coverage withlimits of $1 million a person, $5 million per occurrence.

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Saul Landesberg, managing director for global sales andmarketing XN Holdings based in Tampa Fla., a managing generalagency, said London market brokers are still providing life andhealth protection for companies involved in and near the war zone,at a prohibitive price.

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As an example, he said a $300,000 life insurance policy for acivilian located in Kuwait would have a weekly premium of $3,000 aweek or $10,000 a week for a $1 million policy. "In Iraq, it wouldbe double that," he advised.

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XN, which offers life, health and disability coverage forexpatriate employees and also writes political risk insurance, isnot offering those coverages in U.S.-sanctioned countries, such asIraq or Cuba, according to Mr. Landesberg.

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(XN's political risk insurance policies cover loss of personalproperty due to war, revolution, insurrection,politically-motivated civil strife, terrorism or sabotage.)

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Most firms that need coverage in the area around Iraq, alreadyhave it in place, Mr. Landesberg said. His company recently turneddown a company seeking political risk insurance that had "50 peoplein Kuwait they were telling to leave that day. At that date, it wastoo late to bind the coverage."

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Mr. Landesberg said while it is difficult for companies to getadditional life insurance with a war exclusion deleted, in the caseof a large company, with only a few employees in the risky areas,it is more possible.

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Among companies in the war zone, Mr. Landesberg noted that firmslike petroleum companies generally self insure their employees inforeign jurisdictions.

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"I was recently with a big oil company in Houston and they areused to taking a $25 million deductible on all risks," he said.

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Among media firms who have correspondents in the war zone, somelike Associated Press would not comment on their arrangements. TheNew York Times, however, said it provides more than workers'compensation.

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"We do have an insurance policy that does pay additionalcompensation if a reporter has a loss of life or is injured in theline of duty. This would provide for an individual who was killedin a war area or injured in a war area," said Timesspokesperson Catherine Mathis.

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Given the workers' compensation patchwork system of individualstates with differing comp regulations, the kind of coverage fordeath or injury "is not so cut and dried," according to theNational Association of Independent Insurers.

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According to the Alliance of American Insurers, onlyPennsylvania has a specific exclusion that can be viewed as a warexclusion.

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The variance between states is considerable. Death benefits paidto a single spouse, for example, amount to 35 percent of thedeceased's weekly wage in Arkansas and 80 percent in Alaska.

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States also have varying time limits on death benefits. Forexample, 250 weeks is allowed in Massachusetts and 700 weeks in NewMexico.

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