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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

China's insurance market continues to grow

In the first six months, premium income from the property insurance business rose 16.9% from a year earlier to 235.96 billion yuan, while life insurance premium income rose to 569.7 billion yuan.

Chinese insurers earned 103.11 billion yuan from their investments in the first half, an average return on investment of 2.1%, according to the CIRC.

CIRC chairman Wu Dingfu warned of "great challenges" to the insurance market amid rising inflation pressure and higher interest rates.

China's insurance market began again in 1979 when the People's Insurance Company of China resumed its operations. It was the only insurance company in China then.

By the end of 2009, there were a total of 121 insurance companies in China, including eight group companies and 10 asset management companies. Of these 121 insurers, 69 are Chinese and 52 foreign-invested. Among the Chinese companies 34 are property insurers, 32 life insurers and three reinsurance companies. For the foreign companies, there are 18 property insurers, 28 life insurers and six reinsurance companies.

This year it was announced that China's economy overtook Japan in 2010, making China the world's second largest economy after the United States.

China's insurance penetration (as a percentage of GDP) at the end of 2008 was only 1.04%, but it is expected to increase by 18% by the end of 2014.

The property insurance market is dominated by the "Big Three" players - PICC, Ping An and China Pacific - with a combined market share of 64.22%. The remaining 31 Chinese property insurance companies account for 34.74% and all 18 foreign property insurers make up only 1.04%.