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Insurance premiums rise in Shanghai

INSURANCE premiums inched up in Shanghai in the first half due to an improved mix of products, the Shanghai regulator said today.

Insurance premiums in Shanghai 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 today.

Shanghai is the fourth-biggest insurance market in China, following the provinces of Jiangsu, Guangdong and Shandong.

"Though the premium growth was 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.

Non-life insurers' profit margin sat at 0.32 percent in the first half while the figure a year ago was minus 13.63 percent.

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 of last year, China was hit by major natural disasters such as the snowstorms and the Sichuan earthquake, pushing up insurance losses. It left a high basis for year-on-year comparisons this year.

Life insurers are also shifting to long-term regular products.

Life insurers sold more long-term regular products that could bring them long-term profits. Single premium products can make insurers' income rise quickly, but it's not a strong profit contributor over the long term.

Life insurers also worked to build up their own sales teams rather than rely on the networks of commercial banks and postal banks.

Insurance revenue made by insurance agents rose 8.17 percent to 9.28 billion yuan in the first half.

Meanwhile, the financial crisis has also spilled over into cargo insurance, project insurance and credit insurance in Shanghai.

Cargo insurance, which is closely related to the trade industry dropped 27.9 percent in the first half, the regulator said without giving a value.


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