MH370: Next-of-kin can start filing for insurance claims

KUALA LUMPUR - Next-of-kin of those on board the MH370 plane can start to file for life insurance claims now without having to wait for death certificates.

Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) president Vincent Kwo said that in view of the special circumstances of the tragedy, life insurance companies in Malaysia had agreed to accord special priority in facilitating and expediting claims payment.

"Once the proper claimant has been identified, payment can be processed within a week," he said in a press statement on Thursday.

Malaysia Airlines MH370 was on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 when it went missing from the radar screen 40 minutes into the journey.

There were 239 passengers and crew on board, and among them were 153 Chinese nationals, 50 Malaysians and seven Indonesians.

Kwo said that several of its 14 member companies had started to process life insurance claims for the next-of-kin of passengers and crewmembers on board MH370.

"As this tragedy involved many innocent lives, our LIAM member companies are committed to providing our best support and assistance to the family members during these difficult and emotional times," he said.

LIAM expressed its heartfelt condolences to the family members and friends of the passengers and crewmembers on board MH370, he said.

Earlier, initial checks had indicated that 47 out of 50 Malaysians (comprising 38 passengers and 12 crew members) had life insurance policies with 14 life insurance companies in Malaysia, however, it had been ascertained that six non-Malaysians were also insured with LIAM members.

Family members or next-of-kin of policyholders could contact LIAM at 03-26916628 or email if they wish to find out which insurance company that their loved ones were insured with.

Formed in 1974, LIAM is a trade association registered under the Societies Act 1966.

It has a total of 16 members, of which 14 are life insurance companies and two life re-insurance companies.

On Thursday, it was reported that the families of those on board the plane could also begin to obtain a death certificate even though their bodies were not found.

Lawyer Gobind Singh Deo said that death certificate could be issued to the families even if the bodies were not found.

Section 329 (6) of the Criminal Procedure Code provided for inquests where body of deceased was believed to be in a place from which it cannot be recovered, he said.

However, a question arises as to whether the magistrate had the jurisdiction to hold an inquest since the incident took place outside Malaysian jurisdiction, he said.