Hong Kong MTR fire victims rejected by insurer

Railways operator slammed for passing the buck to insurance company

Hong Kong MTR fire victims rejected by insurer

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

The victims of a fire aboard Hong Kong’s MTR earlier this year claim that the third-party insurance company covering the MTR Corporation has refused to compensate them.

In February, 19 people were injured after a man ignited a fire in a crowded train during rush hour. According to reports, Cheung Kam-fai, 60, threw a firebomb into the Tsim Sha Tsui-bound train before setting himself on fire. He succumbed to his injuries three months later.

In a press statement on Monday, Hong Kong politician Roy Kwong said some of the injured individuals approached the MTR Corporation to ask for compensation, but the company referred the cases to their insurer.

However, the unspecified insurer informed the victims through its loss adjuster that they would not be compensated because “the arsonist was solely responsible for this incident,” according to a report by the Hong Kong Free Press. The insurer added that the MTR’s response to the incident was “swift, orderly, and effective.”

Kwong said that five victims and their families approached him for help. He criticised the MTR Corporation for allegedly neglecting victims and passing the responsibility to the insurance company. He also called for the company to make public the full report on the investigation, which the MTR Corporation had already submitted to the government.

“The loss adjuster said the MTR Corporation is not at fault, but since the full report has not been publicised, no-one knows if anyone needs to take responsibility,” Kwong said.

Frederick Ma Si-hang, chairman of the MTR Corporation, said that the company and its employees held a fundraising drive, which collected HKD2 million for the 19 passengers injured during the attack. The MTR Corporation said that it was also a victim of the incident, and that it had already distributed the donations to the victims.

In his response, insurance sector lawmaker Chan Kin-por said that in order to receive compensation from the MTR Corporation, victims must prove negligence or deficiency in the company’s response to the incident. He added that this may be hard to prove.

Chan suggested that victims seek compensation through civil proceedings, and he also urged the MTR Corporation to provide additional compensation on compassionate grounds.

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