Marsh & McLennan offers organized crime insurance in Mexico

MEXICO CITY Mon May 13, 2013 4:10pm EDT

MEXICO CITY May 13 (Reuters) - The Mexican unit of insurer Marsh & McClennan Companies Inc said on Monday it is launching a policy that will cover terrorism, organized crime and sabotage, the first such policy available in a country wracked by drug-related violence.

Mexico's ongoing battle with drug cartels has not often directly affected companies, but Marsh designed the policy in response to requests from existing clients, said Julian Abraham, Marsh's deputy head in Mexico.

"Customers have asked whether damages caused by organized crime are covered under their property insurance or terrorism insurance and we found that there's a gray area and it's not clear," he said in an interview.

The new policy, launched in January to some clients, will cover up to $25 million of losses or damage related to terrorism, sabotage, organized criminal activity, violence between government and criminal organizations, or violence between criminal gangs.

"Since January we've had quite a few requests for pricing and interest in contracting the coverage," Abraham said.

Marsh is now offering the policy more widely to external clients.

Last year, warehouses and trucks belonging to PepsiCo Inc's Sabritas brand in Guanajuato state were attacked by a gang known as the Knights Templar, an offshoot of the La Familia cartel in western Mexico.

Close to 70,000 people died in drug-related killings during the six-year administration of former president Felipe Calderon. Calderon launched a military offensive against the cartels shortly after taking office in December 2006.

More than 5,000 people have died in the violence since President Enrique Pena Nieto replaced him.

Pena Nieto has pledged to significantly reduce the killings, but has yet to give details on his plans.

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