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Surging Chinese market offers ‘common sense’ opportunity

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The Chinese insurance market is set for staggering growth over the next decade, as the country continues to open its doors to foreign investment.

Swiss Re Group Chief Economist Jerome Jean Haegeli, who is visiting Sydney this week, told insuranceNEWS.com.au China’s share of the global insurance market was set to rocket from 11% last year to 20% in 2029.

“In less than 15 years China will be the largest insurance market in the world,” he said.

At the same time, China continues to open its financial services sector to foreign investment, potentially offering opportunities to the Australian insurance industry.

Earlier this year the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission announced a series of measures making it easier for foreign insurers and brokers to gain a foothold in the market.

“Over the last six to 12 months everything they have done is about opening the market,” Dr Haegeli said.

“If I look globally where growth is in insurance markets, there is a lot of growth in China.

“From that perspective being engaged in China is just common sense.”

In 2015 IAG dumped plans for major investment in China following shareholder feedback on market speculation.

While the company said it still believed in “the fundamentals of China”, analysts agreed at the time that it would have struggled to make an impact against dominant state-owned businesses.