China’s insurance industry opening up to the world

World Today

In the keynote speech at the APEC CEO summit on Wednesday, President Xi Jinping stressed that China would further open up its economy going forward, providing better services to foreign investors.

“China remains committed to providing better services for foreign investors and will always keep its door to the outside world open,” said Xi during the speech in Manila, adding that access limits placed on foreign investors would be reduced.

China’s insurance sector is among the leaders in the country when it comes to offering better access to investors, with foreign insurers now almost enjoying the same treatment as domestic peers.

Australian national Yin Xiaosong, General Manager at Ergo Life Insurance, was among the first batch of insurers to test waters in the Chinese market.

“We are now almost enjoying the same kind of treatment compared with local insurance companies, especially in areas like life insurance and property insurance. And also in terms of business coverage, regions and product lines, the differences are getting smaller,” said Yin.

Foreign insurers gained full access to the car insurance market in 2012, which was a milestone step taken since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001. Since then, there have been a slew of changes. Some 56 foreign insurance companies from 16 countries have set up shops in China recently, and more are on the way.

China’s insurance companies’ profits rose an estimated 95% year-on-year to reach 244 billion yuan ($ 38.4 billion) in the first three quarters of this year, according to the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC).

Foreign insurance companies posted strong performance, reporting premium revenue growth of 27.3percent at 85.8 billion yuan ($13.44 billion). Their business accounted for 4.5 percent of China’s insurance market, up 0.27 percent points from the year before.

Meanwhile, Chinese insurance companies are also looking to go out and operate in the global market.

Most recently, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission signed a memorandum with the Russian central bank on bilateral cooperation in insurance supervision. China has also inked a similar memorandum with Britain.

Story by CCTV NEWS.