Mainlanders showing less interest in Hong Kong insurance products

Tighter capital controls greatly impact cross-border sales, says regulator

Mainlanders showing less interest in Hong Kong insurance products

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

Fewer Hong Kong insurance policies have been bought by mainland Chinese during the first three quarters of 2017, according to regulatory data.

According to a statement by the Hong Kong Insurance Authority, the value of new policies sold to visitors from the mainland dropped from HKD23.7 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 to HKD10.1 billion in the third quarter of 2017.

For the third quarter of 2017, new premiums decreased by 47% year-on-year, mostly due to the decline in insurance purchases by mainland Chinese, said Carol Hui, executive director of the Hong Kong Insurance Authority.

“Tighter measures governing mainland capital inflows and outflows have also led some insurers to adjust their sales strategies, causing a decline in premiums,” Hui was quoted as saying by Caixin. 

Universal life insurance, a type of short-term high-yield policy, saw a significant decline, with sales dropping by 78% since the start of 2017.

The decrease in purchases was affected by Beijing’s tightening of personal foreign exchange purchases and outbound corporate purchases of insurance in late 2016 in order to stop capital flight. Concerns over the devaluation of the yuan have mostly subsided as well.

In October 2016, UnionPay, China’s largest banking card company disallowed mainlanders from purchasing insurance products, including those used as investments, in Hong Kong.

According to Hui, while the sales numbers of protective insurance policies such as medical insurance to mainland visitors will remain steady, the regulator expects that sales of investment-related insurance policies will continue to decline in the near future.

Related stories:
China rejects previous capital flight control approach
Investors turning to Hong Kong insurance to escape devalued yuan
New HK insurance regulator downplays Beijing’s insurance purchase restrictions

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