In February 1979, the Peoples' Bank of China decided to reopen the domestic insurance sector, reviving the industry after more than 20 years of suspension since 1958.
The Insurance Law was launched in 1995.
The first round of insurance expansion came in 1996 when five new domestic players were given the go-ahead, including Taikang Life Insurance Co, New China Life Insurance Co, Huatai Insurance, Yong An Insurance and Sinosafe Insurance.
In 1996 Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance Co Ltd, the country's first joint venture insurance company between Canada's Manulife Financial and China Foreign Economic and Trade Trust & Investment Company, a member of the State-owned chemical industry giant Sinochem Corporation, was set up.
On November 18, 1998, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), the insurance sector's regulator, was formed.
The People's Bank of China oversaw the sector prior to that. Since December 11, 2004, foreign insurers have been allowed to expand their business beyond compulsory insurance. Meanwhile, the geographical limits on foreign insurerswere also lifted.
In June 2006, the State Council launched 10 principles to fuel the development of insurance sector. As one of the important components, insurance companies are allowed to invest directly or indirectly in the capital market. And they are also encouraged to buy bank stakes and to make overseas investments.