19 January 2014

Kenya: Westgate Traders to Know Fate On Insurance Next Week

THE committee on the rapid restoration of Westgate mall will start negotiations with the insurance industry on behalf of affected traders after they make formal submissions starting Monday.

The 16-member committee which was set up in November, two months after the terror attack at the upmarket shopping mall, has urged members of the public and traders affected by the attack to make formal submissions during public hearings that will close next Friday.

One of the mandates for the committee is to access the loss suffered by traders and negotiate on their behalf with the insurance industry after it emerged that most did not have a cover against terror and would therefore suffer total loss.

Insurers had earlier been adamant about goodwill payments arguing that the terrorism covers were available in the market and had been well advertised. Hence, they argued, it would be difficult to make goodwill payments to the traders.

The industry is represented in the committee by Association of Kenya Insurers assistant manager for general insurance Mary Wahome and Insurance Regulatory Authority's head of consumer protection Monica Thirima.

"We have requested memorandum on various situations whereby individual business owners will account for their loss and the public hearing will give them a chance for presentation of such memorandum," committee member Kaplich Barsito, who represents the Ministry of commerce and tourism on the team, told the Star.

Westgate anchor tenant Nakumatt has received Sh1.01 billion compensation from Mayfair Insurance for losses of furniture, fittings and stock but its total loss is estimated at Sh3 billion, meaning it has about Sh2 billion shortfall.

Nakumatt said that through the committee on which its managing director Atul Shah also sits, it will pursue financing help from the government to revive its lucrative store which had a turnover of an average Sh450 million per month prior to the attack .

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