The Bangkok Civil Court has ordered insurer Deves Insurance Plc to pay Zen department store 1.977 billion baht for damage caused in the red-shirt arson attacks in the Ratchaprasong area on May 19, 2010.
Central Department Store Co (CDS), the operator of Zen, bought an industrial all-risks policy worth 3.3 billion baht plus an extra clause for terrorism coverage from Deves Insurance.
The department store filed a complaint against the insurer in May 2012 after it delayed payment on Zen's damage claims. Deves argued the government had declared the arson attacks as acts of terrorism and it was debatable whether this was covered in the all-risks insurance policy.
But the court ruled the fire was not caused by terrorism and it ordered Deves to pay the claims, totalling 1.647 billion baht.
The court said the red-shirt protests qualified as riots, which was covered in the policy.
The court also ordered a penalty payment of another 329 million baht, ruling that Deves was experienced in the business and fully understood the insurance agreement and its responsibility set out in the policy.
Instead, it declined to fulfill the responsibility stated in the policy, causing damage to CDS.
The insurer also has to pay interest of 7.5% per annum from the date of the case filing, until the amount is fully paid, plus legal fees of 6,000 baht to the department store.
The same court on March 1 also ordered Deves to pay Central Pattana Plc a total of 3.7 billion baht in claims for damage caused by the fire at CentralWorld during the same incident.
CentralWorld and the adjoining Zen department store were torched during the military crackdown on red-shirt supporters at the end of the protest.
Arsonists were blamed for the incidents.
Deves said it will have to consult its global and domestic re-insurers who have stakes in the insurance policies bought by the Central Group to see how it would proceed.
In a related case, the court also ordered Muang Thai Insurance to pay 1.7 million baht plus 7.5% per annum interest dating back to December 2010 for fire damage to Chulalongkorn University.
The compensation is for damage claims for two shophouses in the Siam Square area which were burned down together with Siam Theatre during the May 2010 riots.
The university, which owns the land in the area, had a fire insurance policy with Muang Thai for 53 shophouses in the Siam Square area.
Meanwhile, Criminal Court chief justice Tawee Prachuablarp said the judgement of the civil court has no binding on the criminal court, which is considering terrorism cases against 24 red shirt leaders.
He said the prosecutor had gathered evidence to back its terror accusation that was not limited to the events on May 19, 2010.
He said the defendants can use the civil court's ruling to support their defence but the court will judge the case based on the evidence submitted.