Thursday, 14 January 2021

French Foreign Minister Visits Earthquake-Hit Petrinja

ZAGREB, 14 January 2021 - French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian visited Petrinja on Thursday, saying that his visit, which had been planned earlier, could not have started without first visiting earthquake-hit areas.

"It would have been unthinkable to come to Croatia without visiting Petrinja," Le Drian said in the Petrinja barracks at the start of his official visit.

"I wanted to start my trip by visiting Petrinja and the region to express my empathy and to show just how much we in France were touched by what happened to the population here," said Le Drian, who expressed solidarity with rescuers for "doing an excellent job."

Le Drian said that the French remember Croatia's support when the Notre-Dame was in flames.

Immediately after the devastating earthquake that struck Sisak-Moslavina County on 29 December, France sent 240 tents with equipment and there are 6 housing containers on their way from France.

Croatia's Foreign and European Affairs Minister Gordan Grlić Radman thanked his French counterpart for his visit,  one week after Hungary's Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto had also visited the earthquake area.

"Thank you for your support, financial and material but above all psychological. This expression of solidarity shows that Croatian citizens are not alone," Grlić Radman said in French.

Petrinja Mayor Darinko Dumbović told Le Drian that Napoleon's forces were stationed in Petrinja at one stage and left their mark on the city. Le Drian then visited a linden tree planted in 1809 during the Illiryan era.

Dumbović suggested that each EU member state should take over the reconstruction of one particular building in the city.

After touring Petrinja, Le Drian will meet officially with his Croatian counterpart Grlić Radman in Zagreb. 

Le Drian will then meet with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and President Zoran Milanović to talk preparations for France's chairmanship of the European Union in the first half of 2022, the situation in the Western Balkans and developments following Brexit, the French Foreign Ministry posted on its web site.

Le Drian is also expected to visit the French International School which, together with the German school, comprises the Eurocampus Zagreb, one of five in the world, where he will be met by Education Minister Radovan Fuchs.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Croatian Earthquake Insurance Contracted as Additional Risk With Basic Property Insurance

January the 14th, 2021 - Just how much is Croatian earthquake insurance actually utilised? Although the country commonly experiences small tremors, with the exception of devastating earthquakes having taken place in the past, such as the one which destroyed Dubrovnik and one which occurred later and did the same to Zagreb, nothing quite like what happened at the beginning and at the end of 2020 in Zagreb and Petrinja has happened in a very long time.

As Novac za sutra writes, In 2019, Croatian earthquake insurance accounted for only one percent of the gross written premium of all non-life insurance in Croatia, which indicates a very low level of coverage of this risk. However, the latest earthquake with its epicentre in Sisak-Moslavina County and the previous one in Zagreb in March 2020 have already contributed to a general increase in interest in insuring properties against this type of risk.

It is important to know that Croatian earthquake insurance is contracted as an ''additional risk'' to basic property insurance and it is necessary to pay close attention to this when concluding any sort of contract on it, whether the contract is on the insurance of housing, household items, cars or other types of property. Deadlines for reporting claims are primarily instructive and don't affect insurance rights.

For all those who have contracted property insurance against earthquake risk, the Croatian Insurance Bureau (HUO) announced that insurance companies are ready to report damage caused by the earthquake and that the deadlines in terms of insurance for reporting damage, for example three days, are only instructive and that due to non-compliance with that deadline, insurance rights cannot be lost.

All those who have a contract with an additional earthquake risk involved in it should report the damage by contacting their insurance company by info phone, mail or e-mail. If possible, it is good to follow the instructions published by insurance companies on the website, and it is necessary to study the concluded contract and insurance conditions beforehand. For all those who will now consider contracting Croatian earthquake insurance, it is important to draw some attention to several points:

Croatian earthquake insurance is contracted as an additional risk to the basic property insurance. When insuring residential buildings, Croatian earthquake insurance can be contracted as an additional risk for damage to buildings: residential and business parts, common areas of the building and other premises, and that which is taken care of by co-owners or building managers. In insurance, it is also possible to exclude coverage due to earthquakes of a lower intensity or degree, which is specified in detail in the insurance conditions or on the insurance policy. Therefore, it is necessary to carefully read the insurance conditions that the insurer is obliged to give you before concluding the insurance contract.

In the case of franchising (participation in the damage in a certain percentage or even in the case of the absolute amount), the insurance contract may be cheaper or the premium may be lower. In that case, the policyholder must be aware that the amount of compensation in the event of an insured event will be reduced by the agreed amount of the deductible. Compulsory motor third party liability insurance doesn't cover earthquake damage. Kasko motor insurance may or may not cover earthquake damage. Therefore, before concluding a contract, it's necessary, once again, to very carefully read the insurance conditions that the insurer is obliged to hand over to you before concluding the contract.

Property insurance in Croatia is far below the European average in general...

According to the HUO, property insurance premiums in Croatia amounted to 48 euros per capita back in 2019, which is almost four times less than the EU average of 174 euros. Despite this data, which shows low coverage by property insurance, insurers paid 237.5 million kuna in compensation for the damage from the Zagreb earthquake which struck last March by the end of November 2020, and according to HUO estimates, another 150 million kuna is yet to be paid.

The Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (Hanfa) doesn't expect that the damage caused by the 2020 earthquakes could jeopardise the liquidity and solvency of insurance companies because they're well capitalised and adequately manage earthquake risks. The stability of their business is also contributed to by retained earnings, which last year, in accordance with the prescribed Hanfa measure, were not paid out to shareholders. Therefore, Hanfa expects that insurance companies will continue to properly fulfill their obligations under insurance contracts and, as before, justify the trust of their policyholders.

How to exercise the right to an insurance pay out

When it comes to covering earthquake damage to property, make sure that earthquakes are included in your insurance policy and that this is stated in the insurance conditions that are an integral part of the insurance contract (policy). If you have contracted property insurance that covers earthquake damage, report the damage to the insurance company with which you've taken out a policy, in accordance with the relevant insurance conditions.

The insurer is obliged to pay out the insurance within 14 days to a maximum of 30 days from the notification of the occurrence of the insured event or to inform you that the claim is unfounded. If the amount of the insurer's liability can't be determined within the specified deadlines, and the claim is founded, the insurer must pay the undisputed part of its liability as an advance within the specified deadlines, and otherwise default interest. If the party files a complaint after assessing the damage, the insurance company is, in accordance with legal provisions, obliged to respond within 15 days of receiving the complaint.

When paying out for damages, there is a difference when it comes to whether you have a contracted policy with the franchise (participation in the damage in a certain percentage or absolute amount) or not, because if you have a contracted deductible, the insurance premium is lower, but at the same time the amount of compensation is reduced.

Although Hanfa, as the market regulator, is not competent to make a decision on the merits and amount of the claim, in case of disagreements with insurance companies there is a possibility to submit a complaint to Hanfa at the e-mail address This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 01 6173 493. In addition, in case of disagreement with an insurance company, in addition to court proceedings, clients have at their disposal a conciliation procedure that can be initiated before the Conciliation Centre at the Croatian Chamber of Commerce or at the Croatian Insurance Bureau.

More detailed provisions on initiating the conciliation procedure can be found on the website of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce (, ie the Croatian Insurance Bureau (

For more on the Petrinja earthquake, follow our dedicated section.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Earthquake Damage to Infrastructure Estimated at HRK 470m, Daily Says

ZAGREB, 14 January 2021 - The preliminary amount of the damage caused by the 29 December magnitude 6.2 earthquake to the transport, electrical and water infrastructure in the Banija region stands at HRK 470 million, Jutarnji List daily said on Thursday.

Reconstructing the infrastructure and homes is key for the people there to go back to normal living, the paper said, adding that the damage to the infrastructure was already being dealt with.

The biggest damage was sustained by the HEP power utility's distribution network. The company estimates that it stands at HRK 200 million, with 238 substations destroyed or badly damaged.

Repairing cracked embankments is expected to cost between HRK 70 and 100 million.

According to preliminary estimates, the damage to state roads and road facilities in Sisak-Moslavina, Zagreb and Karlovac counties amounts to HRK 75 million, while the damage to county and local roads amounts to HRK 20 million.

The Sisak railway station, a protected cultural monument, was recently reconstructed and the damage caused by the earthquake is estimated at HRK 20-40 million.

The damage done to Croatian Motorways facilities is estimated at HRK 25 million.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

Magnitude 3.2 Aftershock Rocks Petrinja Area

ZAGREB, 14 January 2021 - An earthquake measuring 3.2 on the Richter scale with the epicentre near Petrinja was registered at 7.46 a.m., Croatia's Seismological Survey said on Thursday. 

The Petrinja area was struck by a magnitude 6.2 tremor on 29 December, killing seven and causing devastating damage in Sisak-Moslavina County.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

10 Million Kuna Intervention Assistance Tender for Small Croatian Companies

January the 14th, 2021 - The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has seen many Croatian companies struggle to keep their heads above water, with small Croatian companies suffering previously unimaginable losses and the threat of total closure. A tender designed solely for small Croatian companies is now in the works.

As Poslovni Dnevnik/Marija Brnic writes, the Ministry of Economy is preparing an intervention aid worth 10 million kuna for small Croatian companies and craft (obrt) owners in earthquake-stricken areas for the reconstruction of machines and workshops, for which a tender will be announced in two weeks.

An important part of the wider financial package of 1.5 billion kuna, intended for capacity increase, development and digitalisation, will soon be available to all business owners there. This was announced yesterday by the Minister of Economy Tomislav Coric, who, two weeks after the earthquake hit Sisak, Petrinja and Glina, organised a conversation with representatives of the largest companies in the affected area, including ​​Petrokemija, Sherif Group HiPP, the manufacturer of plastic bags Optiplast, the manufacturer of components for microchips, Applied Ceramics, the food chain City Kebab and the Italian ABS, which took over the plants of the former Sisak ironworks.

The meeting was also attended by the Minister of Labour, Josip Aladrovic, and Sisak-Moslavina County Prefect Ivo Zinic, as well as representatives of Hamag-Bicro, HBOR, HGK, HOK and HUP. The most attention, as stated, is being paid to small Croatian companies, and Coric announced that those business owners whose facilities were destroyed in the natural disaster at the end of 2020 will be given the opportunity to continue doing business in the temporary container settlement that is being built near Petrinja.

In addition to the already taken measures of the moratorium on business loans, Coric added that in the coming months, long-term measures will be taken to revitalise the affected area, and the possibility of introducing special tax treatment is also being actively considered.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Milanović: It's a Shame Post-War Reconstruction was Botched

ZAGREB, 13 January 2021 - President Zoran Milanović said on Wednesday it was a shame that post-war housing reconstruction had been botched, but that this was not a matter for the State Prosecutor.'s Office (DORH).

"It is obvious botch jobs were done, or blueprints were so bad. These houses were poorly built or someone stole by sparing building material. Twenty years have passed and I think that a statute of limitations has expired," Milanovic told reporters in Petrinja on Wednesday.

He added that that cannot be considered as war profiteering and that no profit was made in post-war reconstruction but botch jobs were done and construction material was spared.

"Who can you charge with that? The late president? No. A political party? No. That's just one of our shameful episodes and I don't see what DORH would have to do here," underscored Milanović.

He said that houses were reconstructed according to a government programme and that hundreds of supervising engineers vouched for the quality of works conducted, and they were not necessarily party people but licensed experts.

Commenting on the possibility of post-earthquake reconstruction being conducted through public works, Milanović said he did not believe there would be many many people willing to climb on scaffolding.

Pleter and the media

"Croatia has a shortage of workers in any case and particularly labourers. I have mentioned caterers who are in difficulty, who have not been working for weeks and months (due to COVID lockdown). I see room for them to work here with or even without (the state-owned company) Pleter and for the government to pay them just as it pays Pleter," said Milanovic, adding that that was what he would do if he was in government.

Milanovic explained that he had not said that the task force dealing with the aftermath of the earthquake should have been established earlier but rather that a natural disaster should have been declared earlier than it was.

Milanovic said he did not think the media's role in reporting on the earthquake was problematic, adding that the government had power and was stronger than the media.


Asked whether he would support the opposition initiative to establish a parliamentary commission of inquiry into post-war reconstruction, Milanović said that that was up to parliamentary parties to decide, adding that he did not see any room for an inquiry commission to call witnesses or key stakeholders.

Milanović confirmed that he had spoken with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and that they had talked about everything including Pleter.

"I  don't want to criticise just for the sake of it, that is why I came here today to see first hand. Some of the things he (Plenković) told me seem to hold water, while others aren't that clear to me, but I don't see any drama in that," said Milanović.

"There has to be a clear hierarchy here with clear responsibilities, and if that is Medved, whose name I mentioned before he was appointed, then that is Medved and the prime minister, and he has to be in the limelight the entire time," said Milanović.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Hungary to Rebuild Primary School in Petrinja, Church in Žažina

ZAGREB, 13 January 2021 - Hungary will rebuild an earthquake-devastated primary school in Petrinja and a church in the nearby town of Žažina, the Hungarian secretary of state for religious and ethnic relations said on Wednesday.

During a visit to Petrinja last week, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto announced that Hungary would rebuild a school and a church and that more details would be known during a visit by the secretary of state. He made the announcement during the delivery of the first two of 56 container homes donated by the Hungarian energy company MOL.

Secretary of state Miklos Soltesz said on Wednesday that the remaining containers would be delivered by 20 January.

He said that Hungary would rebuild Prva Osnovna Skola primary school in Petrinja, which is attended by 450 pupils. He added that it was up to local authorities to decide whether it would be built on the same site or elsewhere.

The Hungarian government will also rebuild the Church of SS Nicholas and Vitus in Žažina, in which the organ player was killed in the earthquake.

"We hope that the reconstruction of the school and the church will help ensure that people stay in this area," Soltesz said. 

He said that after living together for centuries and very good relations between the two countries, it was natural for Hungary to help Croatia.

Soltesz said that the Hungarian religious community, the Croatian community in Hungary and Hungarian athletes were also helping earthquake victims. He said that Hungary would organise accommodation for 200 children on the shore of Lake Velence during summer holidays this year.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

56-Year-Old Petrinja Man Commits Suicide Using Explosives

As Index writes on the 13th of January, 2021, a 56-year-old Petrinja man tragically committed suicide in the early hours of the morning today by activating an explosive device, the local Sisak-Moslavina police have confirmed.

Immediately after the report of the explosion, an investigative team from the Sisak-Moslavina police went to the horrendous scene to determine all the circumstances surrounding this event, the spokesman for the Sisak-Moslavina Police Department, Dario Kacmarcik, told Hina.

The local police haven't revealed the precise details of the Petrinja man's suicide, but more should be known after the inquest is completed.

"The people from this area have been traumatised, this is the sad fate of someone which sends out a message to everyone. Croatian defenders and those who created the Croatian state must be put in first place. Psychological help is coming, and the question of just how much such help will be needed is now gaining in importance.

I'm very sorry, my condolences go out the whole family , when I see what this family is going through and what that Petrinja man who raised his own hand against himself was experiencing... Well, that's the question of all questions,'' said the mayor of Petrinja, Darinko Dumbovic when commenting on the tragic event.

Due to the great need for psychological and psychiatric support in the areas affected by the recent devastating earthquake, mobile teams offering professional psychological and psychiatric support have been formed. They currently operate in the areas of Sisak, Petrinja and Glina.

Given the large area that needs to be covered in quake-hit central Croatia, the Crisis Staff of the Ministry of Health has organised the main coordinators through which professional assistance is provided to each area.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Opposition MP Demands Data on Post-War Rebuilt Houses Destroyed in Quake

ZAGREB, 13 January 2021 - Anka Mrak-Taritas of the GLAS party has asked the relevant state office to provide her with data on the number of properties reconstructed after the 1991-1995 Homeland War.

According to a press release issued by GLAS, Mrak-Taritaš says that it should not have happened that properties reconstructed in 1996 were destroyed in the 29 December earthquake, which took seven lives and caused extensive damage in Sisak-Moslavina County.

She said that the authorities were obliged to investigate any wrongdoing in the process of reconstruction under the 1996 law on reconstruction, underscoring that human lives were endangered in those rebuilt houses that were damaged by the recent disaster.

The lawmaker sent the request to the central state office for reconstruction and housing, insisting on the list specifying builders hired for the 1996 reconstruction and engineers and experts hired for supervision of the reconstruction in formerly war-stricken areas.

Mrak-Taritas says that information should be available to the general public.

Wednesday, 13 January 2021

Signal in Banovina to Improve, Reconstruction of State Roads to Begin, Butković Says

ZAGREB, 13 January 2021 - Transport and Infrastructure Minister Oleg Butković said on Wednesday that the phone signal in rural and border areas of Banovina would soon improve and that the reconstruction of state roads in that area should soon begin.

Answering a reporter's question about mobile and phone signals in the quake-hit Banovina, Butković said he had spoken with all telecoms, who had very soon after the earthquake restored the existing signal, so the signal was now as it was before the 29 December earthquake.

"However, since the signal coverage in rural and border areas of Sisak-Moslavina County was rather poor in general, this is an opportunity to improve that situation," Butković said.

He explained that telecoms had planned to temporarily place mobile base stations at six locations until new base stations are built, adding that it will done very soon and improve the signal even in those rural and border areas.

Speaking about damaged roads in Banovina, Butković said that state roads and bridges sustained about HRK 70 million of damage and that several landslides occurred.

The Croatian Roads company has gained in the situation on the ground, the minister said adding that the process of repairing the infrastructure would soon start.

"The process has already begun, the Croatian Roads company will very quickly... contract it and the reconstruction of state roads will start."

Butković said that the government would next week make a decision to allocate HRK 25 million to the County Road Administration, as they had estimated that that was the amount they needed to repair all county roads.

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