March 12, 2010 / 8:12 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-Air France insurer to appeal compensation ruling

* Insurer Axa says to appeal $1.16 million ruling

* Compensation ordered for Brazilian victim of 2009 crash (Recasts with insurance company to appeal)

RIO DE JANEIRO, March 12 (Reuters) - Air France’s insurance company said on Friday it will appeal a Brazilian court’s ruling for the airline company to pay $1.16 million in compensation to the family of a victim of a fatal crash last year.

French insurance company Axa (AXAF.PA) said in a statement it did not accept Thursday’s ruling as a precedent because compensation should be decided by a committee set up after the crash by Brazil’s government, associations of victims’ families and insurers. That committee agreed to define the criteria for fair compensation for the families.

Air France (AIRF.PA) flight AF447 between Rio de Janeiro and Paris crashed into the Atlantic Ocean during a storm on June 1, 2009, killing all 228 people on board.

A Rio civil court judge ordered Air France on Thursday to pay 2.04 million reais ($1.16 million) as compensation for the death of Marcelle Valpacos Fonseca Lima, a 41-year-old woman who was the Rio state attorney-general.

Judge Mauro Nicolau Junior said in his ruling that the crash, the cause of which is still unclear, was in large part due to the “negligent conduct of the accused.”

An Air France spokeswoman declined to comment while the airline studies the ruling.

The company said after the crash that it would compensate families of the victims through its insurers, with payments of around 100,000 euros ($137,000) per victim as a compassionate gesture rather than an admission of liability.

Passengers from 32 nationalities were killed in the crash of the Airbus 330. Among them were 61 French people and 58 Brazilians.

An international search to locate the wreckage failed to find the black box recorders that are crucial to pinpointing the cause of crash. It is due to resume this month. (Reporting by Stuart Grudgings; additional reporting by Helen Massy-Bereford in Paris; editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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