Foreign insurance companies in China

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1 Foreign insurance companies in China This survey focuses on the strategic and emerging issues surrounding the expanding activities of foreign insurance companies in China. December 2012

2 Table of contents Foreword... 1 Executive summary... 2 Market environment Human capital Distribution Risk management Competition and positioning Regulation Peer review Appendices Partners in success

3

4 Foreword Welcome to the 6th edition of PwC s survey on foreign insurance companies in China. This year 31 companies participated in our survey. We would like to thank the chief executive officers (CEOs) and senior executives that contributed their insights to this survey. Their ongoing time, effort and support have continued to make this publication possible. We would also like to thank Dr Brian Metcalfe for his continued research and analyses over the years. The objectives of the survey continue to be: Understanding of the market issues facing foreign insurers in China Building an industry-wide perspective of market trends Gaining insight into the thinking of chief executive officers of China s insurance industry Generating discussion and debate on the best strategic options available to foreign insurance companies Canvassing industry views on how China s insurance market may evolve over the next three years The survey also includes observations on changes to China s insurance marketplace, key risks, the evolving regulatory environment, future opportunities and the state of competition. For foreign property and casualty (P&C) insurers, the opening of the motor third party liability insurance market represents a major opportunity. Motor insurance represents more than 70% of the total P&C insurance market in China. Yet to fully capitalise on this opportunity, foreign P&C insurers have two major challenges in front of them. The first one is accessing historical motor insurance data. In the survey, foreign insurers have expressed concerns over the lack of historical data enabling them to set up appropriate pricing and underwriting processes. The second one is having a robust distribution channel. Foreign insurers, operating mostly in major cities, will need to establish a nationwide distribution network to reach the masses. For foreign life insurers, like their domestic counterparts, have been affected by the rules limiting the number of insurance companies distributing through the bancassurance channel and the continued underperforming of equity markets. Some of the foreign companies have had opportunities to change their business model by reducing their shareholding and partnering with banks. Most recorded good premium income growth as a result of these changes. The new bank-driven model will continue to develop and is likely to become more prominent in coming years. Most foreign life insurers anticipate the need for more capital in the near future. At the moment, the China Insurance Regulatory Commission (CIRC) is developing a risk oriented solvency system. This will impact not only the capital amount required. The enterprise risk management mechanism will also be a significant implementation requirement that will enhance corporate governance and fulfil the principles of risk and return. Solvency II may also impact the ability of European partners to contribute to any future fund raising activities. On the talent side, sales and branch managers have become hiring priorities among life and P&C companies, highlighting both the shortage of skilled talent and their importance to business growth. While many challenges lie ahead, foreign insurers remain optimistic about future growth as they capitalise on the many opportunities in China. Tom Ling Insurance Industry Leader, China Peter Whalley Insurance Industry Leader, Hong Kong Shu-Yen Liu Actuarial Practice Leader, Asia 1 PwC refers to PricewaterhouseCoopers Limited which is a member firm of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited, each member firm of which is a separate legal entity. Disclaimer: The materials in this issue generally cover developments up to October 2012, unless otherwise indicated. Foreign insurance companies in China

5 Executive summary 2 Foreign insurance companies in China 2012

6 Background This survey focuses on the strategic and emerging issues surrounding foreign insurance companies in China. The survey attempts to synthesise diverse viewpoints and offer insights into this dynamic market. The survey is based on interviews with CEOs and senior executives of 31 foreign insurance companies. The interviews were undertaken in August, September and October 2012 and were approximately one hour in length. They were conducted in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Chengdu and Chongqing. The participating companies in this year s survey are listed in the adjacent columns. Life insurance companies (18) AEGON-CNOOC Life Insurance Allianz China Life Insurance American International Assurance Aviva-COFCO Life Insurance CIGNA & CMC Life Insurance CITIC-Prudential Life Insurance Generali China Life Insurance Heng An Standard Life Insurance HSBC Life Insurance Huatai Life Insurance ICBC AXA Assurance ING BoB Life Insurance Manulife-Sinochem Life Insurance MetLife Insurance Old Mutual Guodian Life Insurance Samsung Air China Life Insurance Shin Kong-HNA Life Insurance Sino-French Life Insurance Property and casualty insurance companies (13) Allianz China General Insurance AXA General Insurance Chartis Insurance Chubb Insurance Groupama Insurance Liberty Mutual Insurance Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance RSA Insurance Samsung Property and Casualty Insurance Sompo Japan Insurance Tokio Marine & Nichido Fire Insurance XL Insurance Zurich Insurance Foreign insurance companies in China

7 Overview Despite the slowdown in China s economy, foreign insurers in this survey continue to forecast strong growth. Although market share for foreign insurers remains insignificant, they continue to press forward in China, the world s second largest economy. They hope that as the economy develops and matures and the regulatory environment becomes more hospitable, they will gain traction, expand their product offerings, develop their brands and increase sales and profitability. Foreign insurers continue to seek better ways to be successful in China. Business models, business mixes and distribution channels are under constant review. Several foreign joint venture relationships have been reconfigured with new shareholders and new shareholding percentages. As a result, some of these revised structures have generated a significant rise in new business. With the entry of banks, we re seeing a paradigm shift in China s insurance market. A number of foreign insurers have been dependant on the bank channel and the full ramifications of these changes are yet to play out. Simultaneously, the agent channel which has been a vital sales conduit for another group of foreign life insurers is evolving. The channel reached its peak in 2010 with around three million life insurance agents. The channel is now in decline. Some foreign insurers have radically overhauled their agent networks and hope that with better qualified, trained, motivated and supervised agents, they will succeed by selling more sophisticated value added products. All the foreign participants view the large and medium sized domestic insurers as formidable and direct competitors. Capital adequacy pressures and the economic environment have slowed the pace of growth for these companies. The foreign insurers may be able to capitalise on this in selected target markets. Participants continue to emphasise the challenging regulatory environment. In this report they cite it as their primary concern, but they also refer to it as the most important driver of change. Opportunities could quickly expand if the regulator chose to open up in a number of key areas. For example on the life side, changes on pensions, retirement products, tax incentives and health insurance could permit the foreign insurers to leverage their knowledge and expertise. A good example on the property and casualty side will be how the foreign insurers gain access to the auto insurance market. Success in this sector will be determined by the regulatory framework and the strategic focus of foreign insurers. But the pace and penetration of all these different insurance markets will be determined by the ability to construct a robust distribution infrastructure. As the report illustrates there are many barriers which limit the foreign insurers from accomplishing access in a market driven way. Against this backdrop, survey participants still view the China market with great optimism. They see new opportunities as consumer needs and the marketplace evolve. They believe they possess the skill sets, expertise and technology to capitalise on Asia s fastest growing insurance market. 4 Foreign insurance companies in China 2012

8 China s place in the Asian insurance market Expected growth of survey participants The foreign life insurers interviewed in this survey continue to predict buoyant growth. One cluster anticipates growth around 15% in 2012 through to A second cluster expects higher growth of around 30% in 2012 and then 25% till These projections look good when compared to a number of the large and medium sized domestic life insurers who anticipate slower growth over the next year. The foreign property and casualty companies also forecast continued growth. On average they anticipate around 20% from 2012 till But some players anticipate a further boost, driven by access to the auto insurance market. The broader Asian insurance market The chart below provided by Swiss Re shows that the average real premium growth between 2002 and 2011 was almost 20%. However insurance penetration remains extremely low at around 2%. While the growth rates in other Asian markets are behind China, life sector penetration levels pale in comparison to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan and South Korea. The same is true in the property and casualty sector. Real premium growth is extremely strong but penetration rates are below most other Asian markets. The below chart reflects the continued potential and overall attractiveness to foreign insurers. Insurance penetration % 14% 12% 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% Japan South Korea Taiwan Singapore Australia Australia MY MY TH HK PH Japan PH ID South Korea Taiwan Hong Kong India Thailand SG Indonesia India China China Average real premium growth Life premiums, 2011 (USD 10 billion) Non-life premiums 2011 (USD 10 billion) 0% -10% 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% Foreign insurance companies in China

9 Asian insurance market projections to 2020 Swiss Re s data shows that foreign companies in the life insurance market is around 4% in China compared to Hong Kong (86%), Malaysia (83%), Singapore (63%), Taiwan (24%), Korea (22%) and Japan (17%). Asian Life Companies Market Share Share of foreign companies in life insurance Percentage CN HK IN ID JP MY PH SG KR TW TH VN Note: For India, all joint ventures (JVs) with 26% maximum foreign shares are considered foreign companies in these charts Source: Swiss Re Economic Research & Consulting. The same marked contrast is also found in the property and casualty market where foreign companies in China have around 1%. This is quite different from other Asian markets such as Hong Kong (72%), Malaysia (51%), Singapore (82%), Taiwan (25%), Korea (3%) and Japan (10.5%). Asian Property and Casualty Companies Market Share Share of foreign companies in non-life insurance 2010 Percentage CN HK IN ID JP MY PH SG KR TW TH VN Note: For India, all joint ventures (JVs) with 26% maximum foreign shares are considered foreign companies in these charts Source: Swiss Re Economic Research & Consulting. 6 Foreign insurance companies in China 2012

10 Market share of foreign life companies in China since 2004 The market share of the foreign life insurers peaked at 8.9% seven years ago. It has displayed a slight increase in the first three quarters of 2012 rising to 4.3% over last year s share of just 4%. It remains to be seen whether the re-configuration of some foreign insurers with bank partners may lead to a change in market share. At the same time the slowing growth of domestic insurers may also contribute to an increase in market share figures for the foreign insurers. Market share % 8.9% 5.9% 8% 4.9% 5.2% 5.6% 4.3%* 4.0% Source: CIRC * Relates to January to September 2012 SunLife Everbright is excluded from foreign companies after 2010 Market share of foreign property and casualty companies in China since 2004 As the adjacent chart demonstrates the market share for the foreign property and casualty companies in China has consistently resided at around 1% for the last decade. The figure for the first three quarters of 2012 suggests it has moved up to 1.2%. It remains to be seen whether the opening up of the MTPL (motor third party liability) market will result in a significant increase in market share for the foreign insurers. Market share % 1.2% 1.2%1.2% 1.2% 1.2%* 1.1% 1.1% 1.1% Source: CIRC * Relates to January to September 2012 Foreign insurance companies in China

11 The bank channel The banks continue to play a very important role in the distribution of insurance products. Changes in the last couple of years represent both major opportunities and major threats to the foreign insurers. The market place dynamics changed with new CBRC regulations which limits the sale of insurance products in bank branches to just three insurance companies. In addition, insurance companies were denied the right to place their sales representatives in bank branches. This passed responsibility for selling insurance products over to bank employees. This report found that the three company restrictions had a significant impact on the foreign life insurers. However, respondents agreed that the three company rule was applicable at the branch level and therefore a multiple insurer relationship still exists with the banks. Fourteen life companies indicated that 30% of premium originated in the bank channel. They are unsure how sales and market share may change as the banks develop and rollout their own proprietary insurance products. Agency remodelling In the past there has been concern surrounding the sustainability and future direction of the agent sales channel. Previous reports have highlighted concerns about the high agent turnover rates, their low expertise and skill level, limited income capacity and poor public image. Mis-selling has exacerbated many of these issues. Findings in this year s report reconfirm all of these issues. Participants recorded agents as the channel experiencing the most pronounced decline. Nine of the 14 life respondents that provided details of their agent turnover said they would terminate between 20% to 40% of their workforce. Even more remarkably three participants said they would let go respectively, 70%, 80% and 90% of their agents this year. The foreign life insurers understand that they need to upgrade their training programmes and focus on quality agents who are able to sell more sophisticated insurance products. Talent shortages affect succession planning and growth. The finding that a majority of foreign insurers do not believe that they have the people in place to deliver on their current strategy is remarkable but not unexpected. In past reports, the issue of talent shortages has been emphasised. These results suggest that there is a chronic shortage of experienced personnel. Many participants mentioned that they had highly qualified staff but felt there was a high demand for employees with broad experience spanning 20 years or more. As the industry expands, evolves and matures there is a need for increased continuity and experience. 8 Foreign insurance companies in China 2012

12 Succession planning was also found to be an issue in this report. Although a number of participants have implemented talent management programmes there is concern across the board that companies are also challenged in this area. The research revealed that 26 of 30 respondents believe that talent shortages will have a significant or very significant impact on top line growth over the next three years. Market share predictions The current market share of the foreign life companies is 4.3%. A consensus indicates that they expect market share to be around 5% by This is a small increase given the slowing growth among the domestic insurers. It remains well below the peak of 8.9% achieved in The market share of the foreign property and casualty companies is 1.2%. The consensus for 2015 is between 1% and 2%. This prediction seems conservative in the context of the pending expansion into auto insurance. Geographic expansion The survey found that 13 of the 18 life companies have 60% or more of their business in Tier 1 cities. The same is true for the property and casualty companies where nine of the 13 participants have at least 60% of their business in Tier 1 cities. Prospects for continued growth In general the foreign life companies anticipate continued buoyant growth. One cluster expects around 15% in both 2012 and 2015 and a second cluster predicts faster growth 30% in 2012 and 25% in The property and casualty companies also predict steady growth albeit at a lower rate. One cluster of property and casualty companies predicts growth of 20% (2012) and 20% (2015). Several companies anticipate higher growth than this. Life companies hope this growth will be fuelled by sales of retirement, protection and participating products. On the wholesale side they see growth in health insurance, corporate accident and retirement products. The property and casualty companies on the individual side expect growth in auto insurance, personal accident and health insurance. On the wholesale side the top three future products were identified as enterprise property, liability and marine insurance. In both sectors it must be emphasised that the foreign insurers are growing from relatively small bases. This relative over concentration on Tier 1 cities suggests that better opportunities might be found in the Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. However, the slow branch approval process limits the ability of foreign insurers to gain traction in secondary cities as they expand and grow. Foreign insurance companies in China

13 Better service and consumer protection A number of participants noted the emphasis on customer service and protection by the CIRC s new Chairman Mr Xiang Junbo (formerly Chairman of Agricultural Bank of China). As a result they anticipate increased monitoring and regulation in these areas. They expressed concern over the damage to the industry through mis-selling by poorly qualified agents. Opening up Auto China is the largest automobile market in the world and auto insurance represents 70% or more of the property and casualty market. Auto insurance was left out of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Treaty with China and foreign insurers have persistently lobbied to be granted permission to enter the market. Now that their wish has been granted, they are in the process of formulating strategies. It was apparent in this survey that several foreign insurers plan to aggressively enter the market while others may adopt a more measured approach. It is also clear that entry will be challenging. The market lacks comprehensive meaningful data and will be subject to close regulatory involvement. The foreign insurers with their limited geographic presence and low brand awareness will be challenged as they attempt to gain traction. Change drivers Bank entry into insurance ranks ahead of the regulatory environment as the major driver of change for the life insurers. Capital market developments and capital requirement demands are also key drivers for the life companies. On the property and casualty side the most important drivers are regulations, the economy, the auto insurance market and technology. The influence of the bank channel is much less significant for the property and casualty insurers at this time. Only a few more new entrants There are currently around 50 foreign insurers in China. Participants were more conservative this year in predicting the number of new entrants. Most expect no more than ten new entrants over the next three years. Product mix On the retail side of the life industry, increasing attention is planned for retirement products followed by protection and then participating products. On the wholesale side participants emphasised group health and retirement products. Auto insurance dominated discussion on the property and casualty side followed by personal accident and health insurance. On the wholesale side the top three products were property, general liability and marine insurance. They hope to deploy advanced technologies, leverage expertise gained in other Asian markets and implement creative marketing strategies to attract business. However, they will be subject to both market and regulatory forces. 10 Foreign insurance companies in China 2012

14 Unwavering commitments The life companies continue to believe that their commitment to China is resolute. Fourteen of the 18 participants recorded 9 or higher. This is the highest score since Although ten of the 13 property and casualty companies scored 7 or higher and therefore rank a little below the life companies this is the highest score since Participants also suggested that their Chinese joint venture partners were strongly committed. Seven of the 17 respondents awarded a 10 to their Chinese partners. However, some participants assigned much lower scores. They continue to believe that some Chinese partners would prefer to exit their joint venture relationships. Raising capital As the life insurers continue to grow they need to introduce additional capital. Twelve of 14 life companies confirmed that they have plans to inject capital. An estimate of the projected increase for the 18 life participants forecast that registered capital in 2012 of RMB 54 billion will expand to RMB 83 billion by Foreign insurance companies in China

15 Peer ranking summary A summary of the peer ranking (top three positions) of the foreign insurance companies is shown in the table below. Peer rankings are based on the opinions of CEOs and senior executives that participated in this survey.. First Second Third Life insurance - Traditional savings AIA Manulife-Sinochem CITIC-Prudential Life insurance - Investment-linked CITIC-Prudential Metlife Old Mutual Guodian/ICBC-AXA Life insurance - Protection AIA Manulife-Sinochem CIGNA CMC/CITIC-Prudential Health insurance AIA CIGNA & CMC Chartis Personal accident insurance Chartis* AIA CIGNA & CMC Auto insurance Liberty Mutual Chartis Samsung Fire & Marine/Allianz Homeowner insurance Liberty Mutual RSA AXA Winterthur Enterprise property insurance Chartis Allianz P&C Mitsui Sumitomo Cargo, transportation insurance Chartis Tokio Marine Zurich Group life Generali Aviva-COFCO AIA Group accident and health Generali Chartis ICBC-AXA Customer relationships AIA Chartis/CITIC-Prudential Geographic expansion Chartis Aviva-COFCO CITIC-Prudential Innovation Chartis AIA Metlife Distribution effectiveness AIA Chartis CIGNA & CMC Marketing strategies AIA Metlife Chartis Technically competent staff AIA Chartis Manulife-Sinochem Brand awareness AIA Chartis CITIC-Prudential * Chartis has recently renamed the company AIG 12 Foreign insurance companies in China 2012

16 Market environment Foreign insurance companies in China

17 Number of branches and subbranches offices Eighteen life companies projected an increase from 170 branches to 249 branches or 46% increase. These totals show some differences with the numbers reported in 2011, due to a different mix of participants. In 2011 a 60% increase over three years was predicted. Thirteen property and casualty companies predict an increase from 39 branches in 2012 to 72 branches by 2015, an 85% increase. They project that the current number of 97 subbranches/offices will expand by 240% to 330 by This figure is dramatically influenced by one participant who anticipates a major change in their distribution strategy. The 18 life companies have currently 900 sub-branches and offices and this is projected to grow by 53% to 1,386 sub-branches/offices by Three life companies account for much of this increase. Each one has more than 100 sub-branches/offices at present and all plan to more than double by Number of agents The 13 property and casualty companies indicated that they have 732 agents and this number will increase to 982 by 2015 a 34% increase. These numbers are very similar to 2011 but disguise the fact that three companies expect a decline in the number of agents. Five companies noted they do not use agents. The 18 life companies recorded that they currently have 86,167 agents and this will expand to 134,380 agents by In 2011 the life participants recorded 100,000 agents and expected a 68% increase by The 2012 numbers show that several large agent driven companies have reduced numbers over the last year and predict more modest increases over the next three years. Number of employees The 18 life companies employ 22,060 in 2012 and anticipate a 37% increase to 30,210. These numbers display similar growth projections to those reported last year. Again they hide steady growth by most participants but less optimistic predictions by a few companies. For example, comparison with three year projections made in 2011 indicate that one company has reduced its 2015 projection by 800 employees and two have adjusted theirs by 400 employees. The 13 property and casualty companies predict much faster employment growth. They expect their current total of 3,907 to grow by 75% to 6,845 by All the participants forecast growth. This is much more buoyant than the 2011 report when total employment was expected to reach 3,500 by Several of the larger property and casualty companies expect robust future growth. Non PRC employees The 18 life companies employ 217 non-prc employees and expect this to expand to 270 by This is a change from 2011 when the three year projection remained static. While most companies predict minimal or no change in the number of non-prc employees, one indicated a decline while another suggested it could add 30 new non-prc employees. 14 Foreign insurance companies in China 2012

18 The 13 property and casualty companies expect non-prc employees to grow 29% to 180 by Two companies anticipate relatively significant increases. The Japanese participants account for more than 50% of the total both in 2012 and Number of individual policy holders Seventeen life company participants provided projections on individual policyholders. Estimates were made for one additional participant. In 2012 participants had 6.85 million policyholders and expect this to grow by 65% and reach 11.3 million by Projections for eight property and casualty companies suggest that policies will expand by 79% in 2015 to over 900,000 individual policy holders. This projection is subject to major variation based on the entry by the participants into the MTPL market. Assets under management All 18 life company participants provided an estimate of their 2012 assets under management and 17 provided projections to Based on the expectations of the 17 companies, the additional company s 2012 figures were also projected to The estimate is that the 2012 assets under management figure of RMB 281 billion will more than double to RMB 674 billion by Registered Capital Projections All 18 life company participants provided data on their registered capital in 2012 and only two declined to project to Based on the estimated increase of 16 companies, a projection was made for all 18 participants. It is estimated that the 2012 figure of RMB 54 billion will grow to RMB 83 billion by Number of corporate policyholders Based on 12 life companies projections and estimates for three additional companies it was calculated that a significant increase is expected. The current number of 22,223 is expected to more than double to 48,080 by Eight property and casualty companies estimated that their corporate policyholders will expand from 23,587 to 41,250 by Foreign insurance companies in China

19 Q Can you identify the major concerns of the Chinese insurance market at present? The primary concern expressed by the property and casualty insurers was the CIRC s strict monitoring process. One Japanese insurer commented that although brokers and agents are also monitored, inevitably it is the insurance provider that receives the punishment. A European insurer commented that the regulator wants to manage everything in the market and this makes it difficult to differentiate services and pursue innovative opportunities. An American insurer suggested that domestic insurers want to write more non-auto business, credit insurance, extended warranty insurance. They also plan to have a greater focus on internet marketing over telemarketing. Foreign insurers argue that they are unable to accurately gauge profitability in the auto sector. This is because of non-existent market data and the future policy directions pursued by the regulator. The property and casualty insurers are also concerned about the shortage of professionals in the marketplace. A Japanese insurer said that in the past it had focussed on the large Japanese corporations that manufactured in China and then exported their products. More recently there has been a growth in Japanese owned SMEs who have a different risk profile than their larger predecessors. In similarity to the property and casualty insurers the life insurers cite regulation as their major concern. The fast pace of regulatory change was criticised with new rules emerging every week. A European insurer contended that the foreign insurers were over-regulated and there was too much hand-holding by the CIRC. A wide range of concerns were listed by the life companies. They included the following comments: Different interpretations and implementation of regulations across provinces The industry has outgrown the talent pool High surrender rates Ineffective distribution channels. The industry had 3 million agents most of whom are low quality Recruitment and training needs to be improved to lift the image of the industry Uncertainty over the granting of branch licenses Recognition of the need by consumers to buy insurance for protection and not investment Loss of consumer confidence as a result of mis-selling. A crisis of trust The trend toward weaker solvency ratios by domestic insurers 16 Foreign insurance companies in China 2012

20 Q What, in your opinion, are the most important developments taking place in China s insurance market at present? The most important development for life insurers was identified as the on-going changes in the regulatory environment. Several commented that the new CIRC Chairman stressed the need for improvements in product quality and customer service. Almost all the life participants drew attention to the expanding role of the banks in insurance. The emergence of the bank insurance companies has led to less business for many foreign insurers. One company noted the increased emphasis on selling insurance for protection rather than investment purposes. Further developments were anticipated in the pension market, this will be influenced by the experience of the pilot pension scheme underway in Shanghai. The pension market has great potential and insurers also see future opportunities in medical insurance. Concern was expressed over the viability of the agent channel where low margins prevail. If they are to survive, agents will have to move up market and sell higher margin products. The key development for property and casualty companies is the opening up of the auto insurance market. Participants expressed concern over the impact of price deregulation in this segment. Historically it has been an unprofitable market and deregulation may drive prices even lower, putting further pressure on profits. Participants also noted that the CIRC continues to tighten regulation of intermediaries. This is expected to lead to further consolidation in the agent channel. The property and casualty insurers also commented on the increased presence of the banks in the insurance sector. One participant contends that the internet will play an increasing role in the distribution of personal lines. Foreign insurance companies in China

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