Insurers work overtime

Monday 19, June, 2006 With cricket boards turning the gentleman?s game into an event for all seasons, insurance firms are being driven up the wall.

Insurers, who take the financial risk, are now forced to check out the quality of sheets used to cover the ground, the drainage systems, the porosity of the soil and other features in excruciating detail to arrive at a premium.?Matches are being held in the West Indies in June and in Sri Lanka in August... what earlier went into selling a policy and fixing the rate have changed,? said a senior official of a state-owned insurance company.

At one point, the unpredictable British weather was the riskiest element in the entire policy. Today, matches are being held even in locations which experience seasonal rains and insuring such events is proving to be a challenge.

In these circumstances, some locations have lower risks than others, thanks to ground conditions and preparedness of the authorities.

According to Bhupesh Kumar of Aon Global, an insurance brokerage firm specialising in handling event risks, insurance companies have traditionally looked at factors like weather, political risks and risks arising out of terrorism. Now, the companies are forced to look at other minute details which ensure that the game is on.

The magical number that companies look at is 75 overs ? 50 plus 25 ? the minimum number of overs required for a decision in one-day internationals.

Despite the imponderables, Australia and West Indies are considered to have their positives. In West Indies, the June rains are normally during late afternoon or in the middle of night. Australia is considered to be at superior risk, thanks to the equipment deployed to protect the ground. Certain Indian grounds, on the other hand, are susceptible to inundation.

The good news is boards are no longer interested in gate sales with all the money in broadcasting rights. As a result, matches can be held in relatively ?safer? places far from metros

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