Insurance on the Malaysian airliner is likely to pay out relatively quickly if the cause of the crash is determined, but observers say insurance for the loss of 298 lives and other liability could be complex and lengthy.
It should be fairly easy for investigators to determine whether MH17 was hit by a missile or blew up for some other reason, said Robert Cohn, an aviation attorney at Hogan Lovells in Washington.
"Then the interesting issue is, who do you go after as the malefactors?" he said. "Are you going to sue a rebel?" Bloomberg reported late on Thursday that Germany's Allianz was the lead hull and liability reinsurer covering the airliner, which London-based insurance broker Aon valued at about US$97.3 million. Bloomberg added that Willis Group Holdings brokered the policy.
The US National Transportation Safety Board, which often investigates air accidents overseas and must be invited to join, said it was still determining its possible involvement in probing the Ukraine loss.
"We are communicating with other government agencies and evaluating what our role will be," the agency said in a statement.