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Risk in Context

Events In Turkey: What Defines A Terrorist Attack?

Posted by Michelle Hurley 14 November 2016

Over the past few months, Turkey has been hit by a large number of terrorist attacks, as tensions between government and Kurdish militants, as well as the threat of ISIS, have led to increasing volatility throughout the country.

This has included at least 20 terrorist attacks from June 2015 to October this year, with at least six linked to ISIS and at least nine linked to Kurdish militants.

Following the recent military coup, questions have arisen in terms of what is covered in terrorism policies and what is not.  For example, would losses stemming from these events be classed as terrorism? Or would they be excluded under most policies?

Do you know if you are covered?

In a policy, a definition of terrorism might be:

“... an act, including the use of force or violence, of any person or group(s) of persons, whether acting alone or on behalf of or in connection with any organisation(s), committed for political, religious, or ideological purposes including the intention to influence any government and/or to put the public in fear for such purposes.”

But then might go on to exclude:

“Loss or damage occasioned directly or indirectly by war, invasion or warlike operations (whether war be declared or not), hostile acts of sovereign or government entities, civil war, rebellion, revolution, insurrection, civil commotion assuming the proportions of or amounting to an uprising, military or usurped power or martial law or confiscation by order of any government or public authority.”

For example, damages from the airport explosion in Istanbul in June would likely fall under terrorism cover. Meanwhile, damages from the failed coup d’etat in July are more likely to fall under a political violence policy, which generally provides cover for physical damage from coup d’etat, revolution, insurrection, and rebellion.

When considering how this would affect your insurance coverage for risks in the region, you should take the following steps:

  • Know what is covered and be aware of any inclusion in your policy.
  • Seek advice on how policies would respond to different types of losses stemming from events.
  • Consider broadening cover for Turkish risks.

Organisations with possible exposures in Turkey should continue to monitor the risks in this country and take this into consideration with regards to risk management and insurance coverage.

Michelle Hurley