Amid growing awareness of the importance of critical illness insurance, the average insurance premium for this class of business in China rose by 181% from 2010 to 2017, according to a report on China's insurance consumers jointly issued by China Pacific Insurance (CPIC) and professional services company PwC.
Those who purchased critical illness insurance in China accounted for 9.1% of the total number of insurance customers in 2017, rising for seven consecutive years from 3.7% in 2010, according to China Daily citing the report.
The report was based on an analysis of data from a cumulative total of 619m customers of CPIC up to the end of 2017.
Last year, the number of people whose critical illness claims were settled accounted for 0.047% of those who either bought or were protected by critical illness insurance, a record high since 2010. The average payment for a critical illness claim was CNY14,000 ($2,040) per person in 2017, up by 917% from 2010. But the amount was still far lower than the actual expenses for critical illness treatment, the report said.
More than 95% of critical illness insurance buyers chose long-term insurance in 2017 with a policy period longer than 370 days. For these consumers, the average insurance sum was CNY230,000 per person, which was also lower than the medical expenses required for treatment of such illness.
Yang Xiaoling, chief digital officer of CPIC, said, "It's true that medical insurance is not adequate in terms of the average sum insured. We hope to adjust the structure of products purchased by medical insurance consumers so that a larger proportion of consumers will buy critical illness insurance, rather than choosing products that just cover outpatient and emergency medical services or provide inpatient subsidies."
Data from the company show that critical illness claims triggered by cancer accounted for 61% of the total number of claims in 2016. While men were most likely to develop liver cancer, women were most likely to develop breast cancer.
Last year, those purchasing medical insurance accounted for more than half of the entire population of insurance customers, up from a proportion of 26.9% in 2010, the report said.
Of the cumulative total of 619m insurance customers of CPIC, more than 60% were male; nearly 30% were born in the 1980s; 78% were married and had at least one child; 94% were from developed regions with a high population density, and 64% bought two insurance policies or more. The average annual insurance premium was CNY3,000 per person, according to the report.