Allianz is the main underwriter of the Germanwings Airbus A320 that crashed in the Alps. The aircrafts are usually insured by the consortium of more than 10 companies that share the risk, while one of them is the main insurer.
It is estimated that Lufthansa in total will have to pay around 1 billion Dollars of which the compensation to the families is estimated that can reach up to 350 million Dollars. The amount of compensation to the airline victims’ families, which are entitled to claim, is described as “unlimited”. Under the Montreal Treaty, the victims’ families of the air tragedy are automatically entitled of 156.000 Dollars. But this does not limit the further successful appeal at justice of the families, unless the airline proves that the tragedy is not due to their fault.
Usually, of course, these cases never reach the courts – the airlines (or better, the insurance companies) will stand to the occasion and will cover the claims, except in rare cases. Each case, however, is dealt with in accordance with the law of the country in which the deceased belonged, and what can be regarded as a loss, is judged by its legal authority.
In German courts, for example, the amount of compensation includes expenses of psychological monitoring of relatives and funeral expenses. If the victim was the family breadwinner, the airline has to cover all living expenses for dependents, such as feeding costs for children up to the age of 27 (!) years old. Generally the compensation to each family is defined by age, nationality and occupation of the deceased. Some families will receive less than 100,000 Euros and others will receive millions of Euros.
The American law is particularly generous in such situations – the German law, in contrast, is very strict especially with the victims who are unmarried and unemployed. Families of German students are not expected to receive more than 100,000 Dollars each. On the other hand, the relatives of the German passengers who had profitable trades and were the family breadwinner may compensate more than 1 million Euros each. The families of the Spanish passengers may receive a more generous treatment, with a compensation starting from 250,000 Dollars. The families of US citizens who are victims of an air tragedy may compensate per average about 4.5 million Dollars each. The Insurance agency indeed easily acquiesces in greater compensations to American families, in order to avoid very expensive litigation procedures that apply in the United States.
In the case of Germanwings’ Airbus the insurance policies relate to aircraft liability insurance and aircraft insurance (Aircraft hull & aircraft liability). The aircraft insurance may reach the amount of 250 million Dollars, depending on the value of the aircraft. The aircraft liability insurance can reach up to 2.5 million Dollars per aircraft, depending on its size, but also the wealth and social position of its passengers.
The Allianz was the leading insurance agency for both of the aircrafts of Malaysia Airlines which were lost last year – the company has announced that compensation from these had cost approximately 33 million Dollars each. In its announcement, the company said “ready to support its client as fully and quickly as possible, in conjunction with its co-insurers”. The first aircraft insurance contract was signed by Lloyds in 1911.