Families of some Chinese passengers on missing plane get insurance payouts

BEIJING (Reuters) - Chinese insurance companies have started to pay compensation to the families of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane presumed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean. China Life <601628.SS>, the country's largest insurance company, has compensated the families of seven passengers a total of 4.17 million yuan, Chen Honghao, an official from China Life's department of planning told Reuters by telephone on Friday. China Life had 32 clients on the flight and estimates its total compensation would be 8.94 million yuan, Chen said. Flight MH370 is believed to have crashed with the loss of all 239 people aboard after flying thousands of miles off course on March 8 during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. More than 150 of the passengers were Chinese. New China Life Insurance Co. Ltd. <601336.SS> will compensate the families of nine clients on board the flight with a total of about 1 million yuan, Zhang Hongxia, a public relations official from the firm, said on Thursday. Shanghai-based China Pacific Insurance Co., Ltd. <601601.SS> said it had offered its first compensation payment of 525,000 yuan as of Wednesday, state news agency Xinhua said. Sunshine Insurance will compensate 500,000 yuan to the family of one of its clients, a woman surnamed Zhang from the firm said on Thursday. China Pacific Insurance could not be reached for comment. (Reporting by Sui-Lee Wee. Additional reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Nick Macfie and Dean Yates)