Gross income at insurance companies slows, while investment returns improve

Gross premium income at insurance companies in China rose slower than normal in the first half, while investment returns improved and new technologies were widely adopted.

Gross premium income at insurance companies in China rose slower than normal in the first half of the year, however investment returns improved and new technologies were widely adopted, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission said in a statement today.

Gross premium income rose 23 percent year-on-year in the first half to 2.31 trillion yuan, slower than the 37-percent increase recorded in the same period last year, CIRC said.

“In general, the insurance market was stable with a trend for slower growth,” the regulator said. “Adjustment in business structure accelerated, returns from the use of capital were steady, and industrial risk control enhanced.”

Premium income at life insurers rose 25.98 percent year-on-year, slower than the 50 percent surge experienced last year.

Growth of premium income at property and casualty insurance companies accelerated to 13.9 percent from last year's 8.5 percent.

CIRC attributed faster growth of the non-life sector to a recovery of corporate and shipping insurance along with improvement in economic conditions.

Business structure improved in the non-life sector as less profitable car insurance contributed to 68 percent of total gross premium income, falling below the 70 percent mark for the first time.

In terms of investment, insurance companies have allocated more funds to bond loans and stocks, while cutting bank deposits and equity funds.

Their returns rose 26.23 percent to 371.73 billion yuan, CIRC data showed.

In terms of innovation, CIRC said insurance companies were active in offering insurance products to secure newly emerged shared-economy activities such as shared bikes and smart transportation.

Artificial intelligence and blockchain were used to improve efficiency in operation.

Responding to a Bloomberg report about An Bang Insurance Group's plan to sell overseas assets worth around US$10 billion, the regulator said it had no plan and did not urge An Bang to do so.

An Bang had been one of China's most aggressive insurance companies in acquiring overseas assets before its chairman Wu Xiaohui was detained in June this year.

An Bang, best known for acquiring Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York for US$1.95 billion, has acquired more than US$30 billion in offshore assets.


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