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Atrium Says It Provided Lead War Insurance for Malaysian Jet

The Malaysia Airlines jet that was shot down over the eastern Ukraine amid a Russia-backed rebel insurgency was insured by Atrium Underwriting Group Ltd. in case of war, the company confirmed in an e-mailed statement today.

Atrium said it’s working with its co-insurers, lawyers and others to settle claims for the plane itself as part of its policy insuring the hull for damage in a war.

The commercial jetliner, a Boeing 777, was shot down from a high altitude over the eastern part of Ukraine where insurgents are fighting government forces. The plane was en route to Kuala Lumpur from Amsterdam and crashed near the town of Torez, killing all 298 on board. The government in Kiev blamed the attack on pro-Russian rebels, an accusation the separatists denied.

U.S. President Barack Obama yesterday said the plane was brought down by a missile fired from territory held by pro-Russian insurgents and that Russian President Vladimir Putin is refusing to “de-escalate” the situation.

The attack threatens to raise tensions in Ukraine’s civil war. Carriers including Deutsche Lufthansa AG, Air France-KLM and OAO Aeroflot are shifting planes away from the region, which sits astride some of the busiest air routes between Europe and Asia.

Allianz SE said it’s the lead hull and liability reinsurer for the jet. Such coverage can exclude acts of terrorism or war. The aircraft’s value is about $97.3 million, according to London-based insurance broker Aon Plc, which tracks the market for aviation coverage.

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