Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and insurance compensation for passengers
A relative of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 reacts after hearing a briefing from Malaysian government officials at the Lido Hotel in BeijingReuters

Malaysian and Chinese insurance firms have begun awarding compensation to the relatives of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, despite there being no official confirmation of the death.

Malaysian insurers have said the families can claim the money without death certificates.

"Next-of-kin can file in their life insurance claims now without having to wait for the death certificate. Once the proper claimant has been identified, payment can be processed within a week," said Vincent Kwo, the chief of Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM).

"As this tragedy involved many innocent lives, our LIAM member companies are committed to providing our best support and assistance to the family members during these difficult and emotional times."

Out of the 50 Malaysians onboard the missing plane, 47 of them are said to have taken out insured with the LIAM.

No trace of the missing plane has been found so far in spite of the relentless international efforts: the jetliner is now presumed to have crashed into the sea, killing all those on board.

Beijing's largest insurance company China Life has said seven families have been given 4.17 million yuan (£405,000). The firm said 32 Chinese nationals who were on the jetliner were China Life's clients. A total estimate of compensation will be about 9 million yuan (£870,000).

"China Life is deeply grieved at the news and will ensure compensation and all other related services are fully implemented," a spokesman for the company said.

The country's Shanghai-based China Pacific Insurance also said it has begun processing compensation payments.