New office premiums on insurance policies sold to mainland Chinese in 2015 amounted to HK$31.6 billion (US$4.1 billion) in 2015, representing 24.2% of the total new office premiums (HK$130.9 billion) for individual business last year, the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) has revealed.
The HK$31.6 billion figure represents a surge of 29.5% over new office premiums received from mainland Chinese of $24.4 billion in 2014. Still, the 2015 growth rate paled in comparison to the 63.8% increase seen in 2014.
Nevertheless, the data show that the share of mainland Chinese customers in the Hong Kong individual business market has been growing. It stood at 24.2% in 2015; 21.4% in 2014 and 16.1% in 2013.
Curbs by China on purchase of insurance in HK
However, business from mainland China is expected to fall this year following actions taken by the Chinese government to stem capital outflow. In the latest curb, the central bank, the People’s Bank of China, prohibited the use of electronic payment services by mainland individuals for any Hong Kong life insurance and investment-related products from 12 March, according to notices sent by insurers to their agents.
Individuals can still use those payment systems for insurance on personal accidents, medical and transportation, with a transaction and policy cap of CNY30,000 (US$4,600), the notices showed.
In February, the State Administration of Foreign Exchange enforced a cap of US$5,000 per transaction on the purchases of insurance products overseas using UnionPay, the Chinese state bank-card payment system.
HK insurance numbers in 2015
The OCI provisional data also showed that total gross premiums of the Hong Kong insurance industry in 2015 amounted to HK$365.8 billion, representing an increase of 10.9% 2014.
The total amount of revenue premiums of long-term in-force business was $319.8 billion in 2015, increasing by 11.9% over 2014. Gross premiums of general insurance business recorded a growth of 4.7% to HK$46 billion.