By THE NATION
The court’s verdict, delivered on Tuesday, overturned earlier rulings by the Civil Court and the Appeals Court’s Consumer Cases Division, which found that the insurers were not liable for damage caused by a riot or a terrorist act.
The lower courts had agreed with the six insurers that the red-shirt protests against the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva led to arson that should be deemed an act of terrorism.
The Supreme Court, however, said the damage to the SET building was caused by people with malicious intent, which fell under the insurance policies.
SET, Thailand Securities Depository Co (TSD) and Family Know-how Co had brought their case to court against New Hampshire Insurance Co, Dhipaya Insurance Plc, Falcon Insurance Plc, Bangkok Insurance Plc, Deves Insurance Plc and Muang Thai Insurance Plc after the insurers refused to pay compensation for the damages.
SET sought damages of Bt94.1 million, TSD of Bt380,059 and Family Know-how of Bt14.5 million.
The plaintiffs said in their lawsuit that the six companies had insured their assets in the building for Bt3.47 billion covering the period from January 31, 2010 to January 31, 2011.
Of the insurance coverage, New Hampshire agreed to share 30 per cent, Dhipaya 20 per cent, Falcon and Bangkok Insurance 15 per cent each, and Deves and Muang Thai 10 per cent each.
On May 19, 2010, a group of people stormed into the SET building, smashed property and set it on fire. Many buildings in Bangkok were torched on that day, after security forces dispersed the red-shirt protesters following weeks of anti-government protests.