The Chinese relatives of MH370 passengers are estimated to get “less than $1 million per passenger” in compensation for their losses, compared to a potential eight to ten million dollars that may be paid out to their equivalents in the USA. And Chinese relatives thought they were righteously outraged yesterday.
CNBC reports on the massive disparity, which is mostly due to the influence of U.S. courts and the relative weakness of Chinese courts in class-action suits:
The airline must pay the families of those on board around $176,000 under a multilateral treaty known as the Montreal Convention, and said it had already given relatives $5,000 per passenger in compensation.
But relatives can also sue for further damages – and it is these further pay-outs that experts warn could vary widely.
“Compensation for loss of life is vastly different between U.S. passengers and non-U.S. passengers,” Terry Rolfe, leader of the aviation practice at Integro Insurance Brokers, told CNBC.
“If the claim is brought in the U.S. courts, it’s of significantly more value than if it’s brought into any other court. And for U.S. citizens there is no problem getting into the U.S. courts.”
It certainly seems early to be divvying up the profits from the MH370 disappearance (as, you know, nobody has yet to find a plane or anything) but this certainly doesn’t bode well for the Chinese family members of those lost aboard the plane, many of whom are already outraged at how the case has been handled. When they notice that their American counterparts are reaping windfalls from Malaysia Airlines (well, actually the airline’s insurer, Allianz) they likely won’t be pleased.