By Jonathan Gould and Chris Vellacott
FRANKFURT/LONDON, March 10 Germany's Allianz
has said it is the lead insurer covering the Malaysia
Airlines jet that disappeared over the Pacific Ocean
on Saturday, while Willis has emerged as broker.
Allianz confirmed on Monday that it was the main provider of
insurance on the aircraft itself and the liabilities attached to
the passengers and cargo but declined to comment on the extent
of its exposure or identify other insurers with exposure.
"We extend our sympathy to all those affected by the loss of
flight MH370, and will be working closely with co-insurers to
support our client... as fully and quickly as possible," an
Allianz spokesman said on Monday.
A source at London-based Willis said on Monday the
company had brokered the cover and that Malaysia Airlines was a
client but did not disclose the size of the deal or the insurers
"Malaysia Airlines is a client of ours (both hull and
liability) and we have people working closely on the ground with
them at the moment," the source said.
Aviation insurance is typically sold to a syndicate of
insurers with one taking the lead, or largest slice, with
several other companies sharing the rest.
While the insured value of the aircraft could amount to
around $100 million, the liabilities and compensation typically
amounts to a far higher amount.
An air and sea search, now in its third day, has failed to
find any confirmed trace of the plane, a Boeing 777-200ER,
delivered in 2002, or the 239 people aboard.
Meanwhile, legal experts said settling claims could be
difficult unless wreckage is found and investigators can
establish a cause of the disaster.
"All those potentially involved from a liability
perspective: the airline itself, the hull manufacturer, engine
manufacturer, the service departments, and the airport security
department will wish to ascertain the cause of the loss of the
aircraft," said Anna Tipping, partner at Norton Rose
Fulbright in Singapore.
"There is a complex matrix of contractual liability between
all of these entities."