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MacNut
Apr 27, 2004, 11:53 PM
IOC Buys Olympics Cancellation Insurance for $170M
Policy Would Cover War, Terror and Natural Disaster
By STEPHEN WILSON, AP

LONDON (April 27) -- Guarding against terrorism and natural disasters in Athens, the IOC took the unprecedented step of buying insurance in case the Olympics are called off.

Greek special forces hold training excercises prior to this summer's Olympics. The IOC's insurance policy would financially guard them against terrorist attacks.

The International Olympic Committee's $170 million policy guarantees that the organization and affiliated national committees and sports federations have enough money to continue operations. The policy would not compensate individual victims.

The policy also doesn't cover corporate sponsors and TV networks, which have billions of dollars riding on the Athens Games. Many have their own insurance, and city organizers underwrite their own liability coverage.

IOC president Jacques Rogge said Tuesday insurance was ''standard prudent judgment'' and reflects no lack of confidence in the Aug. 13-29 games, which have been troubled by construction delays and security worries.

The IOC would not be covered if the games are called off because of the delays, IOC finance chairman Richard Carrion said.

The Athens Olympics, the first Summer Games since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, will be the most heavily guarded in history. The security budget is nearing $1 billion - more than three times the amount spent on protecting the 2000 Sydney Games.

Aside from terrorism, insurance experts say the main risk in Athens would be from earthquakes. The city straddles a fault line, and 143 people died in a quake in 1999.

Athens 2004 spokesman Stratos Safioleas said the organizing committee had no comment ''on an IOC policy that concerns not just Athens, but the Olympic Games in general.''

The IOC is paying about $6.8 million for the policy, and the syndicate is led by New York-based insurance giant American International Group Inc., according to two Olympic sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Joe Norton, spokesman for AGI in New York, declined to comment, saying the company had a policy of not breaching clients' confidentiality.

The policy covers full and partial cancellation for a ''whole range of issues such as terrorism, earthquake, flooding, landslides, things like that,'' Rogge told The Associated Press by phone from Lausanne, Switzerland.

Carrion said the IOC negotiated the bulk of the coverage before the March 11 bombings in Madrid, Spain, that killed 191 people.

Rogge said the IOC also will negotiate individual cancellation policies for future Olympics, including the 2006 Winter Games in Turin, Italy, 2008 Summer Games in Beijing and 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Rogge said security has long been the IOC's top priority and that Greece has done ''everything humanly possible'' to safeguard the games.

The Athens policy protects the bulk of the 28 international sports federations on the Olympic program and the 202 national Olympic committees represented at the games. Many of those organizations rely heavily on games-related revenue.

Rogge said the IOC needs just more than $200 million to keep running in the event of cancellation, and it has about $160 million in financial reserves.

''We will certainly have the required amount after the successful completion of the Athens Games,'' Carrion said.

Rogge said the IOC began exploring insurance coverage in 2001, but the industry was reluctant to offer terrorism coverage after the Sept. 11 attacks. The IOC had no coverage for the 2002 Winter Games in Salt Lake City.

Carrion said the IOC also considered taking out a credit line to absorb the bulk of the risk, or a combined insurance-credit arrangement for Athens and Beijing. The executive board decided in February to go with the standard contingency insurance.

Awimoway
Apr 28, 2004, 12:36 AM
Grim, but not surprising.

There was also this little nugget from http://sport.scotsman.com/latest.cfm?id=2847823

Spitz Raises Spectre of US Missing Olympics

United States Olympic hero Mark Spitz has raised the spectre of an American withdrawal from this summer’s Athens Games due to security concerns.

Spitz, who won seven swimming golds at the 1972 Olympics in Munich when 11 Israeli athletes were murdered by terrorists, believes the US team is at this stage not certain to show up in Greece.

With ongoing conflicts involving the US in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as heightened terrorist fears since the events of September 11 2001, Spitz claims American politicians will still be keeping an open mind on whether to send a team to Athens.

He told BBC Radio 5 Live: “We are looking under the microscope at all the different terrorist acts and we know there is a high degree of probability that something could happen in Athens.

“Would that be political suicide to send a team there if you were the Bush administration?

“If you were to yank the carpet out from under the American team and nothing happened, would that be because they are only after Americans? If that does happen in will happen in the 11th hour and 59th minute.

“I would say that about six months ago it was highly unlikely but each day as it goes on with current world affairs it becomes more probable than not that ongoing conversations will take place as to how important it is to put athletes in harms way.”

However, a spokesman for the US Olympic Committee said: “Today there is absolutely no consideration given to the notion our team will not be in Athens.”

MongoTheGeek
Apr 28, 2004, 07:02 AM
I imagine that just about all of the athletes would go even if they KNEW there would be a terrorist attack.

I just hope Al Queda hasn't read Rainbow Six like they seemed to have read Debt of Honor...