Insurers need more info on MH17 crash

22 Jul 2014 / 08:36 H.

    PETALING JAYA: Several Malaysian insurers and reinsurers for Malaysian Airline System Bhd's (MAS) fleet of aircraft are gathering more information on the ill-fated flight MH17 to decide the extent of its insurance coverage.
    Etiqa Insurance and Takaful Bhd, the insurance unit of Malayan Banking Bhd, is said to be the leading local insurer covering the MAS fleet. Malaysian Reinsurance Bhd, a unit of MNRB Holdings Bhd, is one of the local players exposed to the risk, along with Alliance Malaysia Holdings Bhd. Allianz SE is the lead reinsurer.
    Insurers are trying to determine if the incident is included in war risk policies, since the plane flew over the battle-torn region of Donetsk. However, the region itself has not been declared a war zone.
    War risk insurance, commonly used in the shipping and aviation industries, is a type of insurance which covers damage due to acts of war. Most war risk insurance generally has two components, namely war risk liability, which covers people and items inside the craft and is calculated based on the indemnity amount, and war risk hull, which covers the craft itself and is calculated based on the value of the craft. The premium varies based on the expected stability of the countries to which the vessel will travel.
    However, as in the case of MH370, MAS may have some protection via the Montreal Convention, which governs claims arising from disasters on international flights, where passengers are automatically entitled to proven damages up to a fixed amount. The Montreal treaty determines only how much carriers, not other defendants, pay.
    The accord caps payouts at US$170,000 (RM547,400) per passenger regardless of whether the airline is at fault.
    On the other hand, Malaysia Airlines could be facing millions of ringgit in compensation claims and legal battles from families of the passengers on board MH17 who can still take legal action against the airline.

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