China's insurance regulator has approved licences for three more online insurers, stepping up the momentum in the development of Internet insurance in the country. The approval was granted about a year and a half after the first such insurer, Zhong An Insurance, was granted an operating licence.
The three insurers are Yi An Property Insurance, Anxin Property Insurance and Taikang Online Property Insurance. Among them, Taikang Online is the only company whose main sponsor is a traditional insurance company.
“The approvals given one after another by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) to three Internet insurance companies is line with the overall gpvernment drive to promote Internet business, which is developing very rapidly," a source close to the regulator told China Business. In addition, Zhong An Insurance, as the first online insurer, has produced good results which would indicate that prospects in the Internet insurance market are bright.
Granting the three licences also helps the industry in terms of innovation. “The three licensees must have something innovative, in order for them to win CIRC's approval,” the source added.
It is understood that the three new Internet insurance companies will not be engaged in auto insurance. Their approved business scope includes cargo insurance, credit insurance, accident insurance, health insurance, home insurance, and commercial property insurance. The scope is the same as that initially approved for Zhong An Insurance which has since been allowed to offer auto insurance and financial information services.
Taikang Online Insurance, to be based in Shanghai, is set up by a group led by Beijing-headquartered Taikang Life Insurance and Taikang Asset Management with a registered capital of CNY1 billion (US$161 million).
Yi An Insurance has seven sponsors including Shenzhen Yinzhijie Technology Co which offers IT solutions to the finance sector. The company is building a multi-level Internet finance ecosystem, based on the use of big data. To be based in Shenzhen, the new company will have a capital of CNY1 billion.
Anxin Insurance is set up by seven shareholders, engaged in non-insurance business, including Beijing Honghai Mingzhu Software Technology Co. The online insurance start-up, to be headquartered in Beijing, plans to focus on property and liability insurance for micro-enterprises, and eventually auto insurance in the personal lines market. It will have a start-up capital of CNY1 billion.