Insurers see slower gross income in H1

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GROSS premium income at insurance companies in China rose more slowly in the first half of the year, but investment returns improved and new technologies were widely adopted, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission said in a statement yesterday.

Gross premium income rose 23 percent annually in the first half to 2.31 trillion yuan (US$344 million), slower than the 37 percent gain set in the same period last year, according to CIRC.

“In general, the insurance market was stable with a trend for slower growth,” the CIRC 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 annually, 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 bonds, 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 transport.

Responding to a Bloomberg report about An Bang Insurance Group’s plan to sell overseas assets worth around US$10 billion, the CIRC 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 firms in acquiring overseas assets before chairman Wu Xiaohui was detained in June.

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