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Foreign investors upbeat on China's insurance market

By Jiang Xueqing | | Updated: 2019-06-21 16:27
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Maintaining a positive outlook on the Chinese insurance market, foreign investors approve of China's push to further open up its financial sector, said Xing Wei, president of the Insurance Association of China.

Foreign insurance companies recorded a market share increase in terms of their original insurance premium income by 1.78 percentage points year-on-year to 6.84 percent in the first four months of this year, according to data provided by the association.

"With the gradual implementation of China's new opening-up measures, a growing number of foreign financial institutions will invest in China and set up insurance companies, thus promoting their Chinese counterparts to improve operational efficiency and enrich the supply of financial products and services," said Xing at a news conference in Beijing on Thursday.

Allianz, a Munich-headquartered multinational financial services company, announced Nov 25 that it had received approval from the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission for the preparatory establishment of an insurance holding company in China. The company — Allianz (China) Insurance Holding Company Limited — will be China's first wholly owned insurance holding company from a foreign insurer.

The banking and insurance regulator later announced March 27 that it had approved Heng An Standard Life Insurance Co Ltd, a Chinese-British joint venture with 50-50 ownership, to set up the country's first foreign-invested pension insurance company.

China is the world's second-largest insurance market, following the US, and its insurance sector achieved steady growth in 2018, registering original premium income of 3.8 trillion yuan ($554.6 billion).

At the end of April, total assets of the Chinese insurance sector reached 19 trillion yuan, up by 3.89 percent from the end of last year. During the first four months of 2019, original premium income in the sector increased by 14.92 percent year-on-year to 1.9 trillion yuan, according to the Insurance Association of China.

The insurance sector has stepped up support for the real economy, the part of the economy that produces goods and services.

Statistics of the association show that by the end of last year, insurance funds were invested through various channels in projects related to the Belt and Road Initiative (961.2 billion yuan), the Yangtze River Economic Belt (424.8 billion yuan), the coordinated development of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei region (171.7 billion yuan), and the green industry (694.2 billion yuan) which includes clean energy, natural resource conservation, and pollution prevention and control.

"We hope that the insurance sector will play a major part in stabilizing economic cycles and managing risks," said Xing.

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