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Quake May Have Affected Western Life Offices

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Several life insurance joint ventures with Western partners have offices in a city close to the epicenter of the earthquake that struck China Monday.

Western insurers with joint venture branch offices in Chengdu, China, include New York Life Insurance Company, New York; Manulife Financial Corp., Toronto; Aviva P.L.C., London; and Allianz S.E., Munich, Germany.

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Officials with China’s Ministry of Civil Affairs said today that they believe the magnitude 7.8 earthquake has killed at least 9,219 people.

Roger Bilham, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is estimating that the death toll could exceed 50,000.