The Wall Street Journal reports that AIG is playing hardball with Flight 1549 claims from passengers that suffered injury or lost property (cell phone, iPods, etc.) when their plane landed in the Hudson River. Their thinking? An AIG spokesman told the Wall Street Journal that bad publicity is better than no publicity, which explains AIG’s thinking with those bonuses. Okay, I just made that last part up.
Given the reputation of AIG these days, these might have been smart claims to pay. But AIG really has no obligation to pay them because there is no evidence that I’ve heard that its insured, US Airways, was responsible for the accident. The geese are not responsible.
US Airways did a wonderful thing paying each victim $5,000 after the accident to cover their immediate needs. That is just smart public relations. AIG would be wise to look at the enormous picture as US Airways did. But they are not obligated to do so. And my plea to every lawyer in the United States: please don’t sue in these cases to get your name in the paper.