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FINANCIAL SERVICES | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong
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Tighter oversight pushes Chinese life insurers premiums down 24% in H1

Sales of short-term savings product were hit.

The aggregate first-year premiums of Hong Kong-listed life insurers from the Mainland fell 24% YoY as tighter regulatory restrictions hammered sales of short-term savings products in the first half of 2018, according to credit rating agency Moody’s. 

Also read: Chinese P&C life insurers premium growth slow 16% in 2017

Tighter competition from other wealth management products (WMPs) also dampened the half-year performance of life insurers.

"The six listed Chinese life insurers reported lower new business in their first half results, but their credit standing was supported by healthy growth in their in-force books and strong capitalisation," Edwin Liu, a Moody's associate analyst said in a report.

Despite the slowdown, the insurers reported an average 9% growth (not annualised) in their embedded value (EV) compared with year-end 2017, despite a sharp decrease in the value of new business (VNB) mainly driven by volume decrease.

Moody’s remain bullish about the growth prospects of life insurers as they remain well-positioned to recover in the near-term on the back of heightened focus on protection-type products. 

Also read: Hong Kong ramps up efforts to capture GBA's insurance market

“Total premium will grow on renewal premiums from their in-force book. Renewal premiums now account for over 60% of total premiums for most insurers, and are a more stable source of cash inflow than single premiums.”

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