AirAsia flight QZ8501: Surabaya officials help to cut waiting times for death certificates

A wreath from AirAsia Indonesia to the victims of flight QZ8501 is seen at the Bhayangkara hospital in Surabaya's East Java Police headquarters on Jan 7, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM
A wreath from AirAsia Indonesia to the victims of flight QZ8501 is seen at the Bhayangkara hospital in Surabaya's East Java Police headquarters on Jan 7, 2015. -- ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

SURABAYA (THE JAKARTA POST/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Officials in Surabaya are ensuring that the families of the victims of AirAsia flight QZ8501 that crashed into the Karimata Strait will not need to wait days, but only a few hours to obtain the death certificates needed to process insurance claims.

The head of the Surabaya Population and Civil Registration Agency Suharto Wardoyo, said that Mayor Tri Rismaharini had ordered his office to ease the administration process for the purpose by approaching the families and establishing a special counter at the East Java Police's crisis center.

"Although an online program is available for the families to obtain the certificates from home using smartphones or tablets, we will do our best to ease the burden of the victims' families," Mr Suharto told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

He said the death certificates for the AirAsia victims were specially made to not mention the location and time of death of the respective victims.

Mr Suharto also said that to prevent the documents from being misappropriated, the Surabaya city administration had collected supporting data so the death certificates could only be handed over to the legitimate family members.

Of the 78 Surabaya residents on board of the flight, according to Mr Suharto, nine were already identified. "We have issued and handed over the death certificates for them to their respective families," he said.

Apart from the death certificates, he added, the city administration had also helped the families with the copies of the victims' ID cards, family cards, birth certificates and marriage certificates needed in the insurance claim processes.

Separately, East Java Human Resource and Civil Registration Agency chief Edi Purwinarto said that families of victims from outside Surabaya would be helped with contacting their respective administrations. The agency would also help speed up the process.

A total of 119 of the deceased passengers were from East Java.

The disaster victim identification (DVI) team of the East Java Police had identified three more victims on Tuesday, raising the number of identified bodies to 16 out of the 37 remains found around the crash site.

Previously, the Surabaya administration had offered experts on insurance law from Surabaya Airlangga University, East Java, to help the families of the victims.

The administration said that the experts would assist the victims' families by examining the calculated insurance values and reading the insurance contracts thoroughly so they would not become victims again.

Similar assistance was also offered by the city for non-Surabayans as well, with municipal agencies ready to help communicate with heads of the regions where the respective victims originated.

Separately on Tuesday, the Financial Services Authority (OJK) guaranteed that insurance companies would pay the families although the flight took a route unapproved by the Transportation Ministry.

"The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but the plane did not crash because it flew 'on a Sunday' [which was unapproved]. OJK considers the insurance as claimable," Mr Firdaus Djaelani, the OJK commissioner overseeing the non-banking financial industry, said as quoted by Antara news agency in Jakarta.

"According to existing regulations, families of victims have rights to compensation worth Rp 1.25 billion in case of death and total disability," Mr Firdaus said.

The companies responsible for AirAsia services are PT. Asuransi Sinar Mas and PT Asuransi Jasa Indonesi (Jasindo).

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