$138m paid out by MAS insurer

KUALA LUMPUR - A Malaysia Airlines (MAS) insurer is said to have paid out almost RM360 million (S$138 million) over the loss of MH370 Boeing 777 jet which went missing more than month ago.

A report in the Telegraph said the payment was made according to standard air travel industry policy which stipulates that an airplane would be assumed destroyed after it goes missing for more than two days.

Although unconfirmed, the report said Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty have wired the money to an escrow account, while agreeing to hand out hardship payments to the victims' families while the search and rescue (SAR) operation continued.

"The policy was originally taken out in Malaysia but as common practice in the industry, it was reinsured with a group of large international financial groups lead by Allianz," read the report.

Malaysia Airlines has appointed two insurers, Allianz and Etiqa Insurance and Takaful Berhad.

The Telegraph speculated the insurers may also pay out additional "tens of millions of pounds" to bereaved families, depending SAR outcome. International rules stipulate a minimum payment per passenger of STG105,000 (RM576,000)."

In Beijing, MAS senior vice-president Jaffar Derus Ahmad said 85 per cent of applications submitted for financial aid by the Chinese families of those on board the flight had been paid.

Jaffar said from March 8 to April 21, MAS received 124 reimbursement claims from some 400 Chinese family members, who stayed at the Lido Hotel in Beijing of which 106 or 85 per cent had been fully paid.

"Another 10 applications have been approved by the headquarters and we are in the process of transferring the money to the bank accounts of the families,"

He said another three applications were approved by MAS headquarters but rejected by the families. He however declined to elaborate on the reimbursement details. By Syed Umar Ariff, Hashini Kavishitri Kannan and Tasnim Lokman.