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Insurance premiums increase

Insurance premiums rose in Shanghai in the first half this year as the structure of products being offered has improved, the Shanghai regulator said yesterday.
Insurance premiums in the city rose 2.15 percent year on year to 35.1 billion yuan (US$5.14 billion) in the first half, the Shanghai Bureau of the China Insurance Regulatory Commission said.
Shanghai is the fourth-biggest insurance market in China after Jiangsu, Guangdong and Shandong provinces.
Shanghai's growth in the first half was a sharp decline from last year's 43.74-percent rise. The rising stock market may have siphoned capital for investment. The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index has risen more than 80 percent to rank as the world's best performer this year.
"Though the premium growth is stagnant in the first half, the industry is showing a better structure both in the life and non-life sectors," said the local insurance regulator.
The non-life insurance industry, which was burdened with losses in the past, managed to make a profit in the first half in Shanghai. The profit margin of non-life insurers was 0.32 percent in the first half while it was 13.63 percent below zero a year ago.
Insurance losses decreased to 9 billion yuan in the first half in Shanghai, down 11.25 percent from a year ago.
In the first half last year, China was hit by major natural disasters such as the snowstorm and the May 12 earthquake in Sichuan province, pushing up insurance losses.
Life insurers are also shifting to long-term regular products to comply with the regulator's call.
The market share of single premium life products fell to 77 percent from 82 percent a year ago.
Life insurers sold more long-term regular products, which could bring them long-term profits. Single premium products can help insurers generate rosy income rapidly and easily but they are not a strong profit contributor.
Life insurers also devoted more efforts to forming their own sales team rather than rely on commercial banks and postal banks.


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