Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - UNTAC reels from claims rash

UNTAC reels from claims rash

UNTAC reels from claims rash

"People are literally throwing themselves in front of U.N. vehicles to get compensation,"

maintains an over-worked insurance claim's officer who questions "Why should

UNTAC pay?"

Each day, in front of the UNTAC/SNC building, they gather early to stake their claims.

UNTAC is struggling to deal with a huge backlog of claims by people who believe the

organization has injured them in some way.

It is also accused of settling disputes in an arbitrary manner in an effort to speed

through the mountain of paperwork.

The clerk relates the details of her latest questionable claim - a man who suffered

a motorcycle accident is asking UNTAC to pay because he has "applied for a U.N.

job".

"They're the shrewdest people I've ever met, where money's concerned,"

she said.

The man charged with determining the scale of claimant's injuries is UNTAC's chief

medical officer Dr. Col. Peter Fraps.

He says staff have been snowed under by the wealth of small claims but that each

must be taken seriously.

He gives the example of one woman who sustained light scratches to her hands after

an accident with an UNTAC vehicle and then tried to seek compensation, claiming the

injuries affected her home life.

Processing claims takes so long that a charitable fund was set up to offer immediate

relief to people involved in accidents with U.N. vehicles, irrespective of blame.

The fund was originally inspired by UNTAC chief Yashushi Akashi who appealed for

U.N. staff to dig into their own pockets to help pay off the victims. So far, according

to Fraps, more than $10,000 has been donated.

While the doctor believes the system is open to abuse he says it was introduced to

halt even worse abuses.

Thai national Kosan Yawat Sompop has handled all of the insurance claims against

UNTAC since June. He insists most are "not sincere".

Many people, he says, will claim much higher salaries than they actually receive

if they think UNTAC will pay their wages while off sick.

Even so, some people believe the U.N. is being "stingy" with its money,

especially in the case of compensation where a death is involved.

Payments of $2,000 in the case of a bread-winner's death have prompted people to

complain although some UNTAC staff privately believe such payments to be fair once

the local cost of living is taken into consideration.

Many claimants feel that they are forced to bargain with UNTAC over payments and

that each case is dealt with much in the same way as lots at an auction. But UNTAC

has its own priorities.

"Our goal is to get claims settled quickly," says one senior administrator,

because cases that drag on have a tendency to grow in financial proportion.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio