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Families Deserve Fair Payout From $1.5 Billion Policy: Lawyer

Malaysia Airlines has at least $1.5 billion-worth of insurance, according to a London lawyer representing the families of passengers aboard missing Flight 370.

LONDON -- The families of those aboard missing Flight 370 deserve a fair payout from the $1.5 billion insurance policy held by Malaysia Airlines for their "appalling treatment," a London lawyer representing some of them said Tuesday.

“We’ll be giving advice to the families on what is best for their individual circumstances,” said James Healy-Pratt, a partner at Stewart's Law LLP. He is representing families from a number of countries.

The most important thing was to get to the truth by conducting a thorough investigation, preventing future accidents and fair and equal treatment for each of the families, added the former helicopter pilot-turned legal eagle, who also worked with the families of passengers on the doomed Air France flight that vanished in 2009 over the Atlantic Ocean.

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It was also “unacceptable” that the missing plane was not equipped with an upgraded communications pack, “which would have told everyone far more precise data on where the aircraft was,” he said, adding that many airlines had chosen to spend the modest upgrade fee on this device.

Malaysia's Chief Inspector General Abu Bakar said Tuesday he has yet to rule out any theories, leaving the families in "a rather appalling situation of not knowing whether it was a conventional airline disaster or something sinister like hijacking, terrorism or suicide," Healy-Pratt said.

"So until the black boxes are located and the investigation work is done on them no one's going to know and that could be years."