Regulations add stability, but slow category growth
The insurance category, declined 6 percent in value, following a 44 percent rise a year ago. After a period of rapid insurance industry growth, the government intervened to ensure industry stability by restricting speculation and requiring higher capital reserves. In addition, insurers faced competition from e-commerce brands like Alibaba and JD.com.
The new regulations, promulgated by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC), discourage the aggressive sale of insurance policies for short-term investment rather than long-term risk protection. They also limit the development of unusual insurance products, which the government views as more like gambling than insurance.
Factors that drove rapid industry category growth include the aging of China’s population and the lack of a national financial security program for seniors. In addition, many insurers sold policies that promised high return on investment in addition to protection in old age.
Of the six insurance brands ranked in the BrandZÔ China Top 100, only Ping An, which ranks in the BrandZÔ China Top 10, increased in value. China Life fell one rank to Number 11. The other insurance ranked insurance brands are CPIC, PICC, New China Life, China Taiping.
Ping An continued to develop as a financial services company and benefited from cross selling among its banking, investment, and insurance businesses. It also expanded customer access. The number of Ping An Internet customers reached almost 300 million, with mobile Internet customers rising 70 percent to 182 million.