The China Insurance Regulatory Commission released last month guidelines about deepening the reforms in the insurance intermediary market.
The agency seeks to nurture “market leading insurance intermediaries with global competiveness”.
Shenzhen’s Qianhai special zone announced in August it expects to build an “internationalized innovation center for insurance”.
Among the initiatives involved, the Qianhai Insurance Exchange Center (QIEX) seeks to offer an innovative marketplace for insurance agents.
It is a response to the call by the CIRC for the establishment of an “independent agent” mechanism.
The platform is like an e-commerce site where insurance products can be listed and traded.
Clients will also have access to one-stop insurance services on the site.
A consumer will be able post a request for a tailormade insurance product on the platform and select an independent agent who will help the client choose from insurance products across the marketplace to find one that meet the client’s specific demands.
At present, China has more than 2,500 professional insurance agencies and more than five million registered agents.
But the industry still lacks standards and a code of conduct.
QIEX hopes to set industry standards.
In fact, QIEX has been doing “internet plus” innovation for the insurance industry in recent years, involving big data and cloud computing technologies.
Once it gets the green light from the regulator for insurance trading, it can start to establish an insurance transaction database.
Such technologies can help reduce risk, diversify products and improve the transparency of large deals.
In addition to invitations by governments to tender for bulk purchases, enterprises and industry members are also encouraged to start “group buy” deals.
In addition, QIEX is also participating in a study commissioned by Shenzhen government on catastrophe insurance.
QIEX can work as a crowd-funding platform for authorities, institutions and individuals to raise related funds, in an effort to solve the problem of a lack of public engagement in catastrophe insurance in China.
It is preparing to establish an insurance transaction database, powered by big data and cloud computing technologies, once it receives the necessary government licenses.
The platform has signed cooperation agreements with dozens of professional associations in Shenzhen, covering more than 16,000 member companies and thousands of independent corporate members.
At present, training aimed at “nurturing independent agents” has started, and the graduates of the programs will be allowed to start their businesses on the platform.
There are 15 licensed insurance institutions headquartered in Qianhai.
The total registered capital of these insurance firms is more than 40 billion yuan (US$6.29 billion), and they generated 4.7 billion yuan in added value last year, 25 percent of Qianhai’s gross domestic product.
In future, Qianhai will encourage innovations in shipping insurance, logistics insurance, maritime project insurance and so on.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Oct. 19.
Translation by Myssie You
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