China's first 'virtual property' insurance launched

Updated: 2011-07-07 17:11


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BEIJING - A Chinese insurance company has unveiled a new type of "virtual property" insurance that might be the first of its kind in the world.

The new service, tailored for online game players, was jointly launched by Sunshine Insurance Group Corporation and online game operator and manufacturer Gamebar.

The two companies agreed to create the virtual property insurance amid an increasing number of disputes between online game operators and their customers, often related to the loss or theft of players' "virtual property" such as "land" and "currency."

Over 300 million people engage in online gaming in China, and these players sometimes become involved in arguments with game operators due to the loss of property.

A Sunshine Insurance spokesman said the insurance will help to reduce operating risks for online gaming companies, as the companies which purchase the insurance will be covered to compensate customers in the event of lost or stolen property.

The spokesman said that the insurance agreement is also a landmark achievement for the insurance industry, as it marks the industry's first foray into the online gaming sector.

Headquartered in Beijing, Sunshine Insurance Group Corporation was established in 2005 by some big state-owned companies including Sinopec, Chinalco and China Southern Airlines.

In 2010, its premium income reached 25.8 billion yuan (about US$ 4 billion), ranking eighth in the industry in China. Its total assets topped 40 billion yuan by the end of last year.