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Published: Thursday March 27, 2014 MYT 4:00:41 PM
Updated: Thursday March 27, 2014 MYT 4:00:41 PM

Families of some Chinese passengers on missing plane receive insurance payouts

A relative (C) of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines MH370 reacts as she enters a meeting room with volunteers from Malaysia (in blue vests) at the Lido Hotel in Beijing March 27, 2014. Severe weather on Thursday halted an air and sea search for the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet presumed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, frustrating hopes of finding what new satellite images showed could be a large debris field. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (CHINA - Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER)

A relative (C) of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines MH370 reacts as she enters a meeting room with volunteers from Malaysia (in blue vests) at the Lido Hotel in Beijing March 27, 2014. Severe weather on Thursday halted an air and sea search for the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet presumed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, frustrating hopes of finding what new satellite images showed could be a large debris field. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon (CHINA - Tags: TRANSPORT DISASTER)

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 (£405,154) in compensation on Tuesday, China Life, the country's largest insurance company, was quoted by Xinhua as saying. China Life said it had 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.

New China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. will compensate the families of nine clients on board the flight with about 1 million yuan, Zhang Hongxia, a public relations official from the firm, told Reuters by telephone.

Shanghai-based China Pacific Insurance Co., Ltd. said it had offered its first compensation payment of 525,000 yuan ($84,500) as of Wednesday, Xinhua said.

Sunshine Insurance said it has compensated 500,000 yuan for a family of three, according to Xinhua.

China Life, China Pacific Insurance and Sunshine Insurance 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.

(Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee, Additional reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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