Listed insurers see around US$74.25b of overall jump-start sales in January
China’s five listed insurance companies earned a combined premium of 496.5 billion yuan (US$74.25 billion) in their jump-start sales in January, led by China Life and PICC, which recorded double digit growth.
All of the five underwriters posted year-on-year growth of premium income in the first month of 2019, but the growth rate diverged a lot, data from their announcements showed.
China Life, the country’s biggest life insurer, saw its original premiums jump 24.45 percent compared with a year ago to hit 157.8 billion yuan, accounting for around 31.7 percent of the overall premiums during the reporting period.
That was followed by the People’s Insurance Company (Group) of China (PICC), which registered a total of 95.2 billion yuan of premium income, up by 17.7 percent compared with last year.
PICC said its arms in property and casualty insurance, health insurance business and the life insurance sector contributed to a respective 54.3 billion yuan, 3.97 billion yuan and 36.9 billion yuan in January.
Meanwhile, Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, a leading financial conglomerate, saw its premium income rise 8.04 percent annually to stand at 156.5 billion yuan in the past month.
China Pacific Insurance (Group) Co and New China Life Insurance Company reported a growth of 6.21 percent and 6.93 percent respectively, with their premiums reaching 67.02 billion yuan and 19.9 billion yuan during the jump-start sales season.
Analysts noted that the divergence of insurers’ premium growth performance was related to their different development strategies, and this year’s figure signals that the insurance industry as a whole has begun to downplay the impact of jump-start sales, and underwriters are aiming for steady growth throughout the year.
Traditionally, January will see fierce competition among insurance companies, which aim to lift their whole-year sales volume at the very beginning of the year. Players of all sizes, big and small alike, tend to offer annuity policies to attract potential policy-holders.
Basically, an annuity is a contract with an insurer whereby policy-holders agree to pay the company a certain amount and in turn, the insurance company will make a series of payments to clients now or at some future date.
Annuities will function as a safety net, especially for those in their senior years, as they will provide a guaranteed stream of income for life, industry watchers said.