Families of some Chinese passengers on MH370 receive insurance payouts

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Chinese insurance companies have started paying compensation to the families of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane presumed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, state news agency Xinhua said on Thursday.

The families of seven passengers received 4.17 million yuan (S$852,000) in compensation on Tuesday, China Life, the country's largest insurance company, was quoted by Xinhua as saying. China Life said it has 32 clients on board the flight and estimated its total compensation at around 9 million yuan.

"China Life is deeply grieved at the news and will ensure compensation and all other related services are fully implemented," Xinhua quoted an unnamed company spokesman as saying.

Shanghai-based China Pacific Insurance Co., Ltd. said it had offered its first compensation payment of 525,000 yuan as of Wednesday, Xinhua said.

Sunshine Insurance said it has compensated 500,000 yuan for a family of three, while New China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. estimated its compensation would reach 1 million yuan for its nine clients on board the flight.

The companies could not be immediately reached for comment.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is thought to have crashed on March 8 with the loss of all 239 people aboard after flying thousands of miles off course. More than 150 of the passengers were Chinese.