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Insurers' premium income growth declines

PREMIUM income growth at Chinese insurers fell to 8.6 percent last month as companies, under pressure from the regulator, curbed sales of investment-linked policies to focus on more profitable products.

Premiums rose to 114.8 billion yuan (US$16.8 billion) last month, according to data published yesterday by the China Insurance Regulatory Commission. Premiums surged 55 percent against the same period a year earlier. Life insurance sales grew by 10 percent, with the products accounting for 74 percent of total premiums, according to the commission data.

Insurers such as China Life Insurance Co face challenges boosting sales as declining corporate profits and slower growth in household income crimp demand, the commission Chairman Wu Dingfu said on December 27. The industry watchdog has also curbed bank-counter sales of short-term, investment-linked insurance products.

The fall in growth "is a result of life insurers' efforts to improve their product mix," Liu Peng of Huatai Securities Co told Bloomberg News.


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