Foreign insurers cannot directly sell insurance products in China unless they have successfully established a joint venture or wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) insurer in mainland China. In light of Shenzhen's recent pilots and reforms, it is now the most favourable destination for foreign insurers seeking to establish a WFOE in mainland China.
Despite the tortuous path ahead for the US election campaigns and the trials and tribulations of 2020, the US-China Phase One Trade Deal remains in place. As China begins to further open its financial market, foreign insurance institutions (FIIs) may be wondering whether non-US FIIs have any chance of benefiting from China's treatment of US insurers. If only US insurers benefit, would that be a Global Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) violation or would it be GATS compliant?
The rapid spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has affected business operations worldwide. For many companies, business interruption (BI) as a result of the pandemic is one of the greatest operational risks of 2020. Although many companies are insured against BI, their coverage may not extend as far as they believe. For example, compensation under a BI policy is often based on the condition that damage to property has occurred. This article sheds some light on this rule.
It is no secret that China's insurance industry presents good upside growth opportunities and China's insurtech market continues to grow rapidly. Foreign insurers are currently underrepresented in this market, even as former market barriers to entry continue to fall. This market presents great potential for foreign insurers, and Western insurers in particular have centuries of experience to share with their Chinese counterparts.
In early 2020, the Luckin Coffee scandal drew attention from the insurance, legal and security industries and turned the spotlight on directors' and officers' (D&O) liability insurance policies in China. With the developing pace of the security and insurance markets, the refreshed focus on D&O insurance gives Chinese underwriters plenty to contemplate.
In terms of premium revenue, China is the second largest insurance market in the world. However, regulators and insurers are often frustrated due to a lack of insurance innovation. In response to such frustration, litigation property preservation liability insurance has emerged and become a typical insurance solution to satisfy market demand and address unique Chinese insurance requirements in order to align them with the country's judicial system.
Insurance subrogation is an important legal mechanism which enables insurers to reduce their losses after insurance indemnities are paid. However, opinions differ as to the application of reinsurers' right of subrogation. This article answers questions which frequently arise in this regard from a Chinese perspective.
For foreign investors with an eye on the Chinese insurance market, obtaining an insurance intermediary licence is a good idea. However, compared with insurance brokerage licences, insurance agency licences are difficult for foreign investors to obtain. Therefore, foreign investors that wish to acquire control over a Chinese insurer should consider either setting up a new foreign-invested insurer or acquiring an existing foreign-invested insurer.
During the past five years, the Chinese courts and arbitration institutions have handled major disputes relating to reinsurance contracts. These cases prompted legislation in the reinsurance sector and drew attention to the need for more careful wording in reinsurance contracts. This article provides an overview of several essential provisions in reinsurance contracts under Chinese law.
The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission was recently formally unveiled in Beijing, marking the official launch of the new regulatory authority. This merger of the former China Banking Regulatory Commission and China Insurance Regulatory Commission is the biggest reform of China's financial regulatory system in more than 15 years and marks the start of the 'one committee, one bank, two commissions' regulation framework.
The China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission plans to abolish two of the requirements that foreign insurance brokerage companies must meet in order to conduct business in China (ie, 30 years of business operation history and $200 million worth of total assets). If this reform takes place, domestic and foreign investors are expected to have equal status when entering the Chinese insurance brokerage market.
Ping An Insurance (Group), a relative newcomer to the insurance industry, now ranks among the world's largest and most valuable insurers. Notably, its use of technology to embrace new business models that supplement its core insurance offerings is indicative of a wider global trend of providing customers with digital, added-value services. However, in China, this evolution towards added-value ecosystem-related services and the potential advantages on offer is marked by a different set of market considerations.
Despite a range of stakeholders having vested interests in developing the private health insurance market, it has remained underdeveloped and is generally considered by Chinese insurers to be unprofitable compared with life insurance lines. Insurers have also found it hard to stimulate uptake by a consumer base that is relatively unfamiliar with the added value of such products. As such, the Chinese health insurance market is not as mature, innovative or profitable as it could be.
The China Insurance Regulatory Committee recently promulgated the new Measures for the Administration of Equity in Insurance Companies, which state that if the shareholding proportion of an insurer's foreign shareholders accounts for more than 25% of its registered capital, the relevant provisions of the measures must be applied by reference. This express inclusion of foreign-invested insurers represents a substantial shift away from current practice.
Since the end of 2017, the China Insurance Regulatory Committee has taken numerous regulatory measures to address disorder in the insurance market, some of which have brought certain domestic life insurers to task. The measures are notable, as they underline a renewed emphasis on controlling financial risks, which is of utmost concern for the government.
Following the resumption of bilateral trade treaty talks between China and the United States, a 100-day plan was mooted which promised to improve trade ties going forward. One area of focus in this regard has been the foreign ownership limits that apply to inbound investment in Chinese financial services groups, including those pertaining to the country's insurance industry. This policy shift has given rise to expectations that further foreign investment in the insurance industry will increase significantly.
China's shift towards a knowledge-based digital economy is fuelling growth in the insurance sector, which aligns with the government's plan to double the rate of insurance penetration by 2020. By this date, insurance premium income is expected to have reached Rmb4.5 trillion. If this aim is achieved, China will have usurped the United States to become the world's largest insurance market, which bodes well for overseas insurers looking to participate in the domestic market.
A new wave of 'insurtech' companies (ie, insurers engaging with online distribution models and tech companies foraying into insurance) are recognising the gains to be made by entering into this emerging market. However, these developments by no means spell the end of the larger, more traditional Chinese insurers, which are adapting their longer-term business development strategies in response.
Recent ransomware attacks across the globe have once again brought to the fore the all-encompassing enterprise risk management challenge that cyber-risks present to corporations. The raft of operational consequences of such an attack present an ever-burgeoning opportunity for insurers to expand further into this potentially lucrative new line of business. This is particularly pertinent in China, where there has been a shift towards increasing digitisation and automation in various high-tech industries.
The regulations concerning investment limits and the required qualifications for shareholders that want to invest in Chinese insurers continue to be a focal point for potential investors. The China Insurance Regulatory Commission recently published the Administrative Measures for Equities of Insurance Companies (Draft for Comments), which make fundamental changes to the existing regulatory framework.