Doubts arise over insurance policies sold through Chinese app

Platform allegedly fails to meet the regulations for third-party sales and marketing

Doubts arise over insurance policies sold through Chinese app

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

A news app in China has begun selling health insurance products again, a few months after its previous promotions were taken down, raising doubts about the legitimacy of the products.

Toutiao, a news and information platform operated by Beijing-based Bytedance Technology, notified users that its various insurance products can now be purchased through the app, Asia Times reported, citing Chinese-language news site The Paper.

In January, Toutiao took down all the insurance products it had on sale on its platform, including one that reportedly claimed to provide comprehensive medical and critical illness protection. These insurance policies were provided by Taikang Online Property and Casualty Insurance.

At the time, Taikang said its join aim with Toutiao was to improve user experience and that it would postpone insurance sales until a sufficient investigation had been conducted.

The report said that this time, the insurance products being sold by Toutiao are not only from Taikang but also from Asia-Pacific Property & Casualty Insurance and Allianz China Life Insurance.

It’s not known whether it’s legal for insurers to sell their products via mobile apps like Toutiao, the report added.

Regulations state that a third-party network platform for channelling or marketing must not have had any penalties imposed by government authorities, such as China’s Ministry of Industry and Information or the State Administration for Industry, within the past two years.

However, in 2017 and 2018, Toutiao had been censured by authorities, raising concerns whether consumers’ rights are protected if they buy insurance products through the app.

Customers were advised to thoroughly review the insurance policy’s terms and conditions before finalising the purchase.

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