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United Daily News: Lessons from compensation claims

2015/07/21 19:03:16

Kaohsiung gas explosion site. (CNA file photo)

The Kaohsiung City government and two companies implicated in a series of underground gas line explosions that killed 32 people almost a year ago recently agreed to a compensation package of NT$12 million (US$384,480) per family for those who died.

Two families, however, have turned down the offer.

Meanwhile, disputes have arisen over the allocation of donations and government funds in the wake of a flash fire at the Formosa Fun Coast (八仙樂園) water park last month that killed eight people and injured nearly 500.

To prevent such disputes, the government should appoint neutral and professional fiduciaries to deal with compensation.

For instance, One Fund Boston was established by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Thomas M. Menino the day after two explosions ripped through the finish line of the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013, killing three people and injuring more than 200.

Within 10 weeks, US$61 million in donations had poured into the fund for the victims and their families. By July that year, the management of the fund had completed the guidelines for compensation.

Taiwan's government should refer to the approach of the Boston government in awarding and managing compensation.

First, it was done swiftly and efficiently. The Boston City government completed the procedures for distribution of funds from public donations to victims and their families within three months of the incident.

Second, the management of the funds was made transparent to ensure that the money went to the victims and their families.

Third, the terms of eligibility for compensation were clearly stated.

(Editorial abstract -- July 21, 2015)

(By Evelyn Kao)