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December 18, 2009

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Foreign insurers seen as strong

FOREIGN insurers in China have "ample capital" as they all have a solvency ratio above 150 percent, China's top insurance regulator said.

Insurers with a solvency ratio of less than 100 percent will face restrictions in network expansion, bonus and business operations.

The solvency ratio of an insurer is the size of its capital relative to premiums written. It measures how financially sound an insurer is. Generally the higher the ratio, the more stable an insurer is.

Overseas insurers are making efforts to better their product structure and sales channels to shift to protection-driven products from investment-linked policies and cut reliance on using banks and post offices to sell their products.

Insurers in China collected 936.1 billion yuan of premiums in the first 10 months, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission said. Foreign insurers collected 36.3 billion yuan of premiums in the period, accounting for 3.88 percent of the total premiums. The total assets of insurance companies rose by 14.51 percent to 3.83 trillion yuan as the end of October while those of overseas insurers rose by 5 percent.

Analysts are upbeat on China's insurance market due to a strong economic recovery and better product structure.

"We're optimistic about the premium growth in 2010 based on this year's improving premium structure," Yang Jianhai of Essence Securities said.


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