Ping An, Taiping to offer one-policy motor insurance coverage in HK and GBA

Traffic expected to surge under a forthcoming scheme

Ping An, Taiping to offer one-policy motor insurance coverage in HK and GBA

Motor & Fleet

By Kenneth Araullo

The local Hong Kong units of Ping An Insurance and China Taiping Insurance, in addition to two other major HK insurers, have announced plans to offer a new one-stop motor insurance policy covering the city and Greater Bay Area in anticipation of a cross-border traffic surge under an upcoming travel scheme.

The two other insurers, Zurich Insurance and Asia Insurance, are also preparing their own tailor-made policies for the upcoming “quota-free scheme” for motorists travelling to the southern Guangdong province via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge. This will enable drivers to buy just one policy covering their journey, rather than having separate coverage for Hong Kong and mainland China.

No more quota system

First announced in December, the travel scheme will enable an estimated 450,000 private car owners in Hong Kong to travel to Guangdong province for business or sightseeing without the previous quota system on the sprawling bridge. According to the report, the quota only allowed 19,500 cars to cross the border previously, a figure that’s significantly lower than the estimates once the limits have been removed.

Under the new rules, motorists will be able to apply to drive to Guangdong and stay for up to 30 days per trip, with limitations of not more than 180 days a year. Further insight into the lifting of restrictions is expected to arrive at the end of March, but the new scheme itself will not be of benefit to drivers until later this year.

The current system sees car travel on the 55km bridge largely limited to political leaders or people with large business operations in Guangdong due to COVID restrictions. The new system is part of Hong Kong and the mainland government’s efforts to promote more cross-border traffic between the 11 cities of the Greater Bay Area, including Hong Kong and Macau, as well as nine cities in Guangdong.

The Shanghai-based China Taiping has already started to promote the new policy on its website and official media account. The insurer offers comprehensive coverage in both Hong Kong and Guangdong, while also including third-party liability in Hong Kong.

The largest Asian insurer, Ping An Insurance, is developing its own one motor insurance policy covering third-party liabilities for accidents in the GBA excluding Macau, according to the report.

Zurich Insurance Hong Kong CEO Eric Hui said that the company is working on a product to meet the need to make it “more convenient and potentially cheaper” for car owners once the quotas are removed.

Asia Insurance chairman and president Bernard Chan also unveiled plans to offer a similar policy for the travel scheme, saying that it is ready “when the government is ready.”

Data published by the Insurance Authority (IA) revealed that the motor sector of the insurance business has been improving, with gross premiums rising 20% to HK$4.11 billion in the first nine months of last year versus the same corresponding period in 2021. In December, IA chief executive John Lee Ka-chiu unveiled a roadmap for the development of the insurance industry, including a wide range of tax incentives and other regulatory measures.

The IA also recently welcomed insurance initiatives listed by the financial secretary in the country’s budget for 2023 to 2024, including extensions to its ILS Grant Scheme and the Talent Training Program.

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