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China issues first insurance development index

China has issued the country's first insurance development index, China News said, as an insurance development index conference is held in Beijing. 09 Dec 2015

The index is designed to show the health and development of the insurance sector in the country. Taking 2010 as its base year, with an index of 100, the Insurance Association of China said that the index for 2014 was 109.1. This shows that the sector is making progress, with steady business, the association told China News.

Vehicle insurance made up for more than 70% of all insurance premiums paid in 2014, the report said. In western developed countries, including the US and Germany, vehicle insurance accounts for less than 25% of the market, China News said. China's insurance market needs to diversify and include more residential cover, it said.

China's state council announced plans last year to develop the country's insurance industry, aiming to raise premiums to 5% of gross domestic product, or an average of 3,500 yuan ($545) per capita, by 2020.

State-run news agency Xinhua said China’s government "wants to let the insurance industry play a bigger role" in the country’s fledgling social security network.

Commercial insurance should become the "primary undertaker of individual and household programmes and an important supplier of corporate pensions and health insurance," Xinhua said.

The insurance industry will also be given "a bigger role in the prevention and relief of disasters and accidents" through the introduction of insurance products related to ‘catastrophic’ events, it said.

Insurance funds would be encouraged to invest in bonds and equities to support major infrastructure projects, urban renewal and urbanisation, the new agency said. 

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