Beijing: Fired by swelling middle class and rapid increase in insurance coverage, China's insurance sector last year posted its best performance since the global financial crisis in 2008, with profits surging over USD 47 billion, the country's insurance regulator said.
"China's insurance sector saw its best performance in 2015 since the global financial crisis, with premium income reaching 2.4 trillion yuan (USD 366 billion)," Chairman of China Insurance
Regulatory Commission (CIRC) Xiang Junbo said at Lujiazui Forum in Shanghai.
Profits rose to 282.4 billion yuan (over USD 47 billion) on top of 12.4 trillion yuan assets for the entire insurance sector last year, Xiang said.
This was mostly driven by growing demand for insurance by the middle class, he was quoted as saying by state run Xinhua news agency.
About 67 per cent of China's population, or 920 million people, are covered by medical insurance and the medical bill reimbursement ratio has been raised by 10-15 percentage points, he said, adding that the insurance sector should work to extend its coverage in the rural areas.
China's insurance sector will continue to improve to meet demands for the swelling middle class and an aging population, he said.
Xiang said insurance firms have been encouraged to invest in elderly care services, including senior care homes and reverse home mortgages.
"Commercial insurance should be made a major pillar of China's social security net," he said.
The insurance sector also has great potential to generate employment opportunities as the sector added 1.8 million jobs last year while another 560,000 got employed during the first four months of this year. Many, according to Xiang, are employees recently made redundant.